Funnel cloud on Galveston's Stewart Beach launches umbrellas 30ft into the air

This man's umbrella was recovered after flying away in a finnel cloud on Galveston's Stewart Beach

September 3, 2013 5:52:28 AM PDT
Lots of people spent this Labor Day out in the Galveston sun and sand, but we were there earlier when some folks got more than they bargained for.

Labor Day is that date in the calendar between summer and fall -- the last holiday if the season sent in the summer and heat.

It's not as big an event as Fourth of July or Memorial Day, but it's still a major part of Galveston's tourist economy.

No precise beach visitor numbers are in yet, but Galveston Beach Patrol officers describe the crowds as average for a holiday, and all was quiet with few major incidents.

That is until mid-morning, when a water spout formed off Stewart Beach. A few minutes later, it was followed by a funnel on the sand.

"It was like a big dirt devil," one witness told us. "It just came and plucked them out, like dandelions."

Those "dandelions" were beach umbrellas. More than 100 umbrellas were launched 30 feet into the air.

No injuries were reported, but it perhaps made it easier to say goodbye to the summer.

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