Hypnotized by Waterspouts

Waterspout Tampa Bay July 2014
Waterspout Tampa Bay
July 2014

I watched a waterspout once, as it formed in the Gulf of Mexico; it waved and approached the shore like a charmed cobra. It was beautiful and fascinating and my inner smart person suggested that maybe it was dangerous? But this time, like so many times, I ignored my inner smart person, hypnotized by the waterspout, which, like magic, disintegrated.

Waterspouts are fairly common sights along the coasts of Florida, where I lived for many years. Florida, with ocean on both sides and intense heat growling upward from its soggy landmass all day, creates perfect conditions for afternoon thunderstorms. In fact, most lightening strikes worldwide afflict Florida golfers around 3:00 in the afternoon.

A weatherman in Florida must have one of the easiest jobs in America. “Temperatures in the high 90s with chance of afternoon thunderstorms.”  Over and over and over.

The storms were awesomely violent in Sarasota. Palm trees bent sideways, whipping in the wind, torrents of water fell from the sky, thunder dominated everything, lightening struck and frazzled pine trees all round.



Locals called these storms “frog choakers;” tourists pulled off the road and prayed. It was over quickly. The smell of steaming hot pavement  greeted our nostrils as we emerged from our homes, grateful that the air had now cooled to about 85 degrees.

Another day in paradise.

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