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Brazilian beachgoers bowled over by blustery waterspout (Video)

A waterspout swept through Recife's Piedade beach in Brazil, toppling umbrellas and chairs. (Video: The Washington Post)

A waterspout is one of those things that can ruin a day at the beach in an instant. Beachgoers in Brazil were content to watch the spout from the shore this weekend, until it frighteningly ran aground, prompting vacationers to scatter.

Wind speeds in the little vortex might have been as high as 50 mph, which is enough to rip a sunbather’s umbrella out of the ground and fling sand into the air. There was an obvious hazard from the large airborne debris, but it doesn’t appear to have done meaningful damage, and no injuries have been reported (except for perhaps some dry, sandy eyes).

Waterspouts like these sometimes develop just offshore under cumulus clouds, though it doesn’t necessarily need to be stormy. Often they can occur under an otherwise uneventful deck of stratus. In this case it does look like there were some stormy clouds moving through, which helped to spin up the spout.

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