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Storms across Northeast Texas spin up tornadoes, waterspouts

When a tornado crosses or forms over a large body of water, it is called a waterspout.
Credit: Texas Game Warden
A waterspout over Wright Patman Lake caught on camera by a Texas Game Warden on Saturday, May 16, 2020.

Eight tornadoes were reported in parts of northeast Texas and the ArkLaTex region on Saturday.

Several videos captured the tornadoes, including the video below shot at Wright Patman Lake not far outside of Texarkana, Texas. 

When a tornado like this one crosses over water or forms over water, it is called a waterspout. 

Waterspouts are common in coastal areas such as Florida, but they rarely move onshore or cause damage. However, since this waterspout was formed by a thunderstorm, it was likely much stronger than a typical Florida-like waterspout, and would become an actual tornado once it moved over land.

There was even a possible tornado or two in North Texas on Saturday as well. Damage was reported and a picture of a possible tornado was taken near Malakoff, Texas. 

Other areas of damage were reported around Mabank and southern Van Zandt and Kaufman counties. 

The National Weather Service will conduct damage surveys on Sunday to determine if a tornado or multiple tornadoes occurred.

The low-pressure system had just the right amount of spin and instability to produce short-lived but damaging tornadoes.

These type of tornadoes are usually on the ground for a minute or less, and are hard to predict because they form and dissipate so quickly.

The system that created the tornadoes also brought widespread rain to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and most of North Texas, with some areas receiving more than 5 inches of rain from Friday to Sunday morning. 

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