DISCUSSION: As of earlier this morning across some parts of Southeast Florida, there was quite a familiar presence in the skies overhead. This familiar sight was characterized by the presence of deep surface-based thunderstorm activity. Quite often, such thunderstorm activity is associated with the inland movement of sea breezes which typically move ashore during late afternoon to early evening hours. As these sea breeze circulations move ashore, they often help to trigger shorter-duration thunderstorms which form as air masses collide over land in the state of Florida. This type of air mass collision which occurs is best described by the given sea breeze interacting with warm, moist air that is consistently in place over much of the Sunshine State.
In some cases, such thunderstorms can develop weak rotation close to and right near their base. As this occurs, the rotation can increase on a horizontal axis within the lower part of the thunderstorm and get turned into the vertical due to the presence of stronger localized vertical motions. Thus, as the rotation is turned from the horizontal to the vertical, atmospheric phenomena referred to as waterspouts (when the given thunderstorm is over water) can occur. As seen in the photo above (courtesy of a forecaster who was off-duty from the National Weather Service located in Miami, Florida), you can see near the center of the photo (and just below the center of the base of this thunderstorm) the presence of a very narrow appendage which looks similar to a funnel cloud. That small feature is a perfect example of what was previously acknowledged as a waterspout which is what was observed earlier this morning over Miami South Beach, Florida!
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz