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Waterspout becomes tornado in North Carolina

Alexandra Pope, staff writer
August 19, 2011 — As many as five waterspouts formed off the coast of North Carolina Thursday. One came ashore, becoming a tornado.

The waterspout became a tornado as it moved onshore
The waterspout became a tornado as it moved onshore

The waterspout came ashore on Carolina Beach, southeast of Wilmington, just after 10 a.m.

Tourists and beachgoers watched in amazement as the towering plume of water turned into a plume of sand that smashed through a wooden ramp and tossed trash bins high into the air.

The tornado passed between some oceanfront homes and briefly became a waterspout again over Carolina Beach Lake before dissipating in a nearby residential area.

No injuries or major property damages were reported.

Waterspouts are a common occurrence in North Carolina in August, when the offshore waters are at their warmest -- but five spouts in one day is rare. NWS meteorologists said a strong low pressure system created just the right amount of rotation to generate multiple waterspouts.

With files from StarNews Wilmington

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