Ferocious waterspout slams beach in Brazil

Beachgoers scramble for cover; video screen grab

People enjoying an idyllic day at Brazil’s Candeias Beach were sent scurrying for cover Sunday as a ferocious waterspout spun ashore and raged across the sand.

Raw footage of the event in Guararapes, Grande Recife, shows palm trees bending, and umbrellas and chairs hurtling across the beach as terrified beachgoers scrambled to find safer ground. (The first video shows the waterspout as it’s hitting the beach, and the chaos; the second shows the funnel cloud’s approach.)

Though some reports implied that people also were tossed by powerful gusts, it remained unclear at the time of this post whether the brief storm caused serious injuries.

“It was scary,” Vanessa Quechua, a local resident, is quoted as saying by NE 10. “It picked up chairs, umbrellas… even a small child was thrown by the strong wind. Many people came running and screaming for help.”

The waterspout–the marine version of a tornado, complete with funnel cloud–developed as two complex storms approached the region.

Talitha Sampaio, another local, described the phenomenon as a “small tornado at sea” to News 9 Australia. “I was in Jaboatao, looking toward Recife, and there was a dark cloud. Suddenly, the clouds cleared and came here… and looked like a whirlwind into the sea from the sky.”

Waterspout approaches; video screen grab

Meteorologist Edvania Santos, of the Pernambuco Water and Climate Agency, said of the two storms: “The two bring more humidity and dense colds. This may have contributed to the occurrence of the phenomenon, because they generate strong winds. From the videos I’ve seen, this is a waterspout.”

To be sure, it was a day at the beach these people will not soon forget.

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