Storms explode on social media - FOX 13 News

Storms explode on social media

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Severe weather moved through Manatee County Tuesday evening, leaving one person injured and a dozen mobile homes with significant damage.

Three of the homes had heavy damage, FOX 13's Josh Cascio reported.

Several viewers sent in pictures of what appeared to be a funnel cloud forming.

This was the second night in a row where funnel clouds were falling from the sky -- but Monday night's water spout near Oldsmar actually touched down in the water.

From the moment the waterspout first formed to the moment it ended, FOX 13 viewers shot and shared one amazing video after the next. Cell phones and smartphones captured every second of the waterspout and the images lit up our social media feeds.

"I think that photos and shared events like that do connect us," says Al Tompkins, who teaches journalism and social media at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg. "Whether it's as a country, as it was in the San Francisco crash, or a community, as it was in the waterspout, we do become connected because we're sharing an experience."

Monday night's water spout was perhaps the most documented ever in the Bay Area. It formed right off the Courtney Campbell Causeway during rush hour and dinner time. It made for a moment shared by everyone, but Tompkins says there is an important lesson.

"The fact that we know a lot more about what's going on through photographs and videos doesn't mean we understand it," said Tompkins. "I could look out and see the waterspout, but I need the meteorologist to tell me where it's going, whether it's going to be harmful. I can see the 'what', but I need to know the 'so what.'"

According to the Pew Research Center, the number of adults using Smart phones has gone up more than 20% in the past two years from 35% to 56%.

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