Screengrab from a video shared by NWS Bay Area on Sunday, January 6, 2019 of a waterspout spotted near Santa Cruz.
From the seaside cliffs of Santa Cruz, two towering funnel clouds were spotted spinning over the Pacific Ocean amid a fierce storm Sunday afternoon.
Many people took photos and videos of the wild weather scene and shared their footage in social media.
The National Weather Service released a report Monday confirming the details of the episode and revealed two separate waterspouts formed offshore and became tornadoes upon reaching landfall before quickly dissipating.
The first reached a peak wind speed of 65-to-70 mph. It moved onshore along West Cliff Drive, just west of Woodrow Avenue at 11:59 a.m., and diminished two minutes later.
The NWS reported it picked up a construction sign and tossed it into a mailbox across the street, and topped two agave cacti before hitting two trees.
The second peaked at 80-to-85 mph and slammed into the Santa Cruz Wharf at 12:19 p.m. It tore off part of the roof of the Dolphin Restaurant and dissipated a minute after reaching the wharf.
The Dolphin general manager told the NWS that it felt like an earthquake struck the building at the peak of the lunch hour.
The NWS' Roger Gass said waterspouts aren't unusual in Monterey Bay, but they rarely reach land.
"It's not all that unusual for our region to experience some stronger storms with rotation off the coast that produce these brief water spouts and occasionally they move inland," Gass said.
He added that these events are far less extreme than the tornadoes that can occur in the Midwest where wind speeds near 200 mph.