A mysterious weather phenomenon that looked deceivingly like a tornado hit the North Carolina coast Friday, creating a 2.3 mile path of destruction in its wake.
But the National Weather Service decided over the weekend that it was, in fact, not a tornado — but instead a gustnado that generated the 80 mph winds.
What’s the difference?
“Multiple videos and eyewitness accounts showed the origin of the low level rotation was from the ground up, not from the cloud down,” the National Weather Service explains in a tweet.
So, it was not a tornado that hit Hyde County, but rather a type of whirlwind — “like dust devils” — that can reach 70 to 90 mph range, says the NWS.
“It is important to note that, although not classified as a tornado, gustnadoes can produce damage consistent with that of” a tornado, says the National Weather Service.
Multiple videos of the Hyde County gustnado have been posted on Facebook, and it looked essentially like an upside down tornado made of dust and debris.
The gustnado hit the town of Swan Quarter at about 6:45 p.m. Friday, and was nearly 250 yards wide at some points, says the National Weather Service.
No one was killed or hurt, but the gustnado broke branches off trees, ripped off pieces of roofs, overturned a camper and lifted a wooden building off its foundation and moved it five feet, says the National Weather Service.
Debris blown by the gustnado was found up to a half mile away, said NWS officials.