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FIRST ON 3: Carolina Beach visitors take waterspout turned tornado in stride

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Carolina Beach visitors take waterspout turned tornado in stride

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- It's been a busy day down at Carolina Beach. As you saw FIRST ON 3 online and on-air this morning, a water spout made its way on land.

Beach visitors got an unusual treat: a front row seat to Mother Nature in the form of a waterspout.

Folks at Carolina Beach were confused about if they should stay or leave after a waterspout ripped across the ocean, up the beach and over to the Carolina Beach Lake.

Thursday started like any other beach day, but soon turned into anything but the usual.

"We were standing there looking, and all of a sudden, you could tell when it came ashore, because it just filled with debris," John Heuer, a visitor from Ohio, said. "There was boogie boards and there was umbrellas and big 10x10 canopies flying in a big circle like 200 feet over the condos, which are pretty big units anyways. So we decided we should probably get inside at that point."

Heuer says he can't believe what he saw.

"A big garbage can from the beach went flying up, and it kind of caught our attention, and then a 10-foot section of the boardwalk flew up about 200 feet in the air and luckily it shot it out the back and it landed in the dune instead of on somebody's house," he said.

Charter boat captain Shane Snow of the SS Fish Witch says he was out on the water when he saw the spout. He says waterspouts are common for a boater, so he couldn't believe it when it went on land.

"I've never seen one hit the beach like that," Capt. Snow said. "It hit the beach, and from what I could see there were some umbrellas and maybe a boogie board or something spinning around inside of it."

The Town of Carolina Beach says there was very little damage from the waterspout turned tornado as it moved through town. Officials say they think it was more of a spectacle than anything else.

"I think it was exciting for a lot of folks," Carolina Beach Town Manager Tim Owens said. "I'm sure a lot of folks who are on vacation from other places really enjoyed themselves with this one. We're just glad that nobody was hurt and there was minimal damage."

The town says it is working to clean up any of the trash cans and other debris scattered during the storm.

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