NEW ORLEANS -- Eyewitness described it as frightening and awe inspiring, and many snapped photos and video.
The funnel cloud caused some minor damage. Part of the roof of a camp has been ripped off after the spout landed near a neighboring camp, while dozens of people marveled at the size and power of the waterspout.
“The stuff started spinning up, nothing but wind, everything blowing. It came through. It came through hard,” said eyewitness Kerry Brown.
The eyewitness video shows the biggest waterspout many Grand Isle neighbors have ever seen.
Around 3:30 p.m., it spun onto land, tearing off part of the roof and throwing it onto the ground next door.
Brown said he saw it all from his hotel across the street.
“I thought it was the end. I ain’t never been through nothing like that, and it came through here,” Brown said. “The thing was huge!” So huge, it inspired many here to grab their cameras and capture the scene.
“Awe inspiring, just amazing, it was neat,” said eyewitness Nicholas Peterson.
Grand Isle police say it started as three water spouts that merged into one, creating a powerful funnel cloud up to three quarters of a mile wide.
Police Chief Euris Du Bois watched nearby.
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “The sound and the way the wind was turning, it was something to see. I’ve never seen one that big before in my life.”
Officials say waterspouts like this one form regularly in the Gulf of Mexico near Grand Isle, posing a threat to fishermen. But what makes this unique is that it grew so large and crossed onto land.
“We all went out there with our lights and sirens and got everybody’s attention and everybody was on the lookout and we try to be safe,” Du Bois said.
Eyewitnesses say the waterspout dissipated soon after it hit land, and while it damaged one house and tore down some power lines, it could have been much worse.
“We was blessed,” Brown said. “We missed that.”