Waterspout Turned Tornado Recorded on Lake Travis
Caught this on Sunday morning, uploaded to Youtube: https://youtu.be/thWSWyG0yFY
Lake Travis Twister April 2, 2017 Sunday Morning 9:17 AM CST. Bee Creek, Rod and Gun Club Road, Spicewood, TX 78669, Austin, Texas, CRGC. Boat Dock damaged by Twister Tornado, Wind Shear, Water Funnel, Severe Thunderstorm
We hosted a kids campout at Lake Travis on Saturday April 1st. There was a low turnout due to the weather warnings and nobody set up tents to campout because it was supposed to rain all day. And really roll-in starting around 1:00 AM.
I stayed up until 2:30 waiting for it, but not a drop of rain. It ended up raining a little after I went to bed. I rolled out of bed around 9, because got a call from a friend warning me about a severe thunderstorm coming, with 1,600 lighting strikes a minute or something…
I went down to the clubhouse to check on the kids. My wife and others were making breakfast tacos. The kids were in the road throwing the football and kicking soccer balls. And they wanted to come inside. I told them to keep playing, as I was told the storm would hit within 15-30 minutes. But as soon as I said that, the wind picked up. I walked into the clubhouse and saw a wall of what I thought was wind and rain. I grabbed my phone and started taking the video:
It all happened so fast, we didn’t know what we were witnessing until it was over. In a matter of seconds we saw it and then it was over. The National Weather Service NWS The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – U.S. Department of Commerce – NOAA is also looking into this. Anyone with additional footage of the waterspout should contact Paul Yura at the NWS at 830-629-0130 ext. 223. However, now in the light of this video, they may reclassify it as a tornado.
Damage occurred just off of Highway 71, down to R O Drive, then down to Cory Lane and then into Bee Creek around the Mark Fisher’s Piranha Club – FICA. Then around the bend to the clubhouse where the video was taken. As depicted in the following image:
What appears to be a waterspout (wa·ter·spout?wôd?r?spout,?wäd?r?spout/noun
a rotating column of water and spray formed by a whirlwind occurring over the sea or other body of water.) forms and hits a boat dock tearing the roof from it. Then it headed East hugging the South Shore out of Bee Creek and into the main part of Lake Travis, where it turned into a tornado (tor·na·do
tôr?n?d?/Submit noun a mobile, destructive vortex of violently rotating winds having the appearance of a funnel-shaped cloud and advancing beneath a large storm system.) again and hit the Village of Point Venture hard, resulting in a lot of damage. And apparently, it was also a tornado prior to turning into a waterspout, prior to taking the video.
We got the kids and everybody else into a safe room in the metal and rock building and away from all glass windows where they waited out the rest of the storm. About 15 minutes later, all of our phones started going off, with Tornado warnings, but this was well after it had long passed. Looks like there was an error on this as well.
The send half of the video, was stitched together, and shows the minutes after the waterspout passed. What this shows is the direction of the wind and the water blowing from towards the East. I have never seen the water rush toward the East, the main part of the lake, it always seems to blow and rush towards the West. Metorologist have stated that this is another sign of a tornado, being the water is being sucked up into the funnel. Anyhow, I have never seen water go in that direction. This happened for about 15 or so minutes. Then the wind and water direction changed and blew back towards us. Then the water started to swirl, then that was it, it as all finished. That is the story of this tornado to waterspout, back to tornado on Lake Travis, outside of Austin, Texas.
Thank you to the following people who helped share this video
- Storyful and Editor Iain Martin
- Spectrum News (formerly TWC News 8) and Burton Fitzsimmons who conducted a phone interview with me [NOTE: I incorrectly gave the wrong directions of the waterspout. CORRECTION: The waterspout came from the West and headed East, hugging the South shore, towards Point Venture and Lakeway.]
- KXAN Austin and Jim Spencer
- IBM Owned The Weather Company – weather.com and all of the IBMers over there in Atlanta
- KVUE Austin and Nathan Gogo
- KEYE Austin CBS and Chikage Windler and Courtney Schoenemann who came out to the house with her cameraman and recorded a little interview
- Shay Koenning
- All of the folks at the NOAA and Paul Yura at the NWS
Thankfully nobody was hurt during the recording of this video or elsewhere during this storm. Thank you to all and God Bless.
On Friday May 19, 2017 Joy Diaz of The Texas Standard interviewed me in the KUT Studios on the University of Texas campus. We discussed the video of the waterspot, the experience, and the aftermath of internet trolls. Be sure to catch clip the on The Texas Standard! The piece ended up airing on Friday June 16, 2017 on Fathers Day weekend, listen to it here as “A Father Leaves His Kids with a Memory They’ll Never Forget – A Spicewood Springs dad explains why he’s not “up for a parenting award this year.”.
On Friday June 16, 2017 Jim Spencer of KXAN reported that “April storm damage in Point Venture was a tornado after all”.
Details as provided by Paul Yura from the National Weather Service:
I told most of you that I would followup about the Point Venture wind damage (Early April Sunday storm QLCS event) once a final determination was made. The recent quiet weather allowed me to sit down over the past week and really go through all the pictures, videos, radar etc…and I have decided what to do.
A big thanks to all of you that got the word out and were able to get me some additional videos, pictures, contacts, etc. The majority of security videos that we received especially on the Lakeway side unfortunately did not clear anything up. Some blowing trees, blowing rain, etc. a video we got from farther west up R O Drive was able to convince me to start a small EF0 tornado near Noack Hill…continue it east toward the Lake and Bee Creek. That is where the good video of the waterspout is shown crossing the Lake moving toward Point Venture ( I think we have all seen that one). I do not have any video on Point Venture…and because of that I did not have enough evidence to take the tornado onto much of Point Venture beside having it come onshore where there was tree damage at their lakeside park area on the far west side. Track image below. Radar data was little help.
Inline image 1
Since the majority of the roof damage on Point Venture was seen on the south side of Point Venture it appears that most if not all of it was caused by strong thunderstorm winds. This goes for Lakeway as well. This matches up with radar nicely as KGRK showed 60-70+ kt winds in our lowest tilt moving across that area at this same time. (see GR2 image below). This was a 1-2 miles large swath of winds. Radar peaked at 77 kt. If that was able to reach ground and move across the water with little friction, to me it explains the significant wind damage we had on some of those homes and marinas that were nearest the shore and shoreline cliffs.
Inline image 1
So bottom line is that I made the majority of damage to homes and trees as a result of microburst winds. I am documenting an EF0 tornado with:
Date/Time…April 2, 2017 915-918am.
Max winds…80 mph
Max width…100 yards
Path length…3 miles.
Begin Lat/lon….30.3652, -98.0570
End Lat/lon……30.3805, -98.00994
If you are not aware…you can view some of our finalized data through what they call the Storm Damage Web Viewer. While this is not the official stormdata database, we use this site to upload our quality controlled images/tracks from our damage assessments.
website is…. http://apps.dat.noaa.gov/StormDamage/DamageViewer. Allows you to download the tracks as KMZ files, etc.”