Marathon Florida 8 - 20 - 2005

What a stroke of luck finding this waterspout just offshore of
Marathon, Florida.  I started my day headed down to Key
West to get some laps in the swimming pool.  A swim meet
was in progress so I headed back home to Big Pine Key.  As I
approached Big Pine I saw this halfway decent cumulus line
extending just north of Big Pine and Marathon.  The rain free
area was near Marathon so I keep right on going.  I few miles
up the road I saw a spike emanating from the rain free base.  I
pulled over at a boat ramp and filmed a few seconds but it was
just too far away even at 12x zoom.  I rolled the dice and
headed over the 7-mile bridge knowing there was no place to
stop and waterspouts rarely last more than a few minutes.  As I
got to the halfway hump on the 7 mile bridge I didn't see it
anymore.  I called a friend of mine in Marathon and he could
still see it.  I squinted hard and got a bead on it.  The
waterspout was all the way down and looking healthy as ever.
Now ALL I had to do was drive another 3 miles across the
bridge and set up on steady ground. (filming out the window
was just not going to cut it.)

As I approached the 7 mile bridge off ramp all the cars in front
of me slowed down - just wanted I needed - rubber neckers!
I finally pulled off in a parking lot, whipped out the gear and
rolled tape.  This waterspout lasted approximately 15 minutes
from start to finish.  It's bowing slightly to the NE because rain
cooled air from the left is pushing against it.  Luckily, the rain
pushed on to the west and the resulting outflow stayed away
longer.  Good for me because usually you only get a couple of
minutes before a waterspout dissipates.
                                -- Jim Edds--

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