A waterspout near Florida in 1969. Two flares with smoke trails (near base of photograph) have been discharged to indicate wind direction and general speed.

A waterspout is an intense columnar vortex (usually appearing as a funnel-shaped cloud) that occurs over a body of water.[1] Some are connected to a cumulus congestus cloud, some to a cumuliform cloud and some to a cumulonimbus cloud.[2] In the common form, a waterspout is a non-supercell tornado over water having a five-part life cycle: formation of a dark spot on the water surface; spiral pattern on the water surface; formation of a spray ring; development of a visible condensation funnel; and ultimately, decay.[2][3][4]

Most waterspouts do not suck up water; they are small, weak rotating columns of air over water.[2][5] Although typically weaker than their land counterparts, stronger versions—spawned by mesocyclones—do occasionally occur.[6][7]

While waterspouts form mostly in tropical and subtropical areas,[2] they are also reported in Europe, Western Asia (the Middle East),[8] Australia, New Zealand, the Great Lakes, Antarctica,[9][10] and on rare occasions, the Great Salt Lake.[11] Some are also found on the East Coast of the United States, and the coast of California.[1] Although rare, waterspouts have been observed in connection with lake-effect snow precipitation bands.

  1. ^ a b Burt, Christopher (2004). Extreme weather : a guide & record book. Cartography by Stroud, Mark. (1st ed.). New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0393326581. OCLC 55671731.
  2. ^ a b c d "A Comprehensive Glossary of Weather: Waterspout definition". geographic.org. Archived from the original on 8 February 2022. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  3. ^ What Is a Waterspout? (Weather Channel video)
  4. ^ Jessica Hamilton Young (17 July 2016). "Waterspout comes ashore in Galveston". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on 28 October 2016.
  5. ^ Schwiesow, R.L.; Cupp, R.E.; Sinclair, P.C.; Abbey, R.F. (April 1981). "Waterspout Velocity Measurements by Airborne Doppler Lidar". Journal of Applied Meteorology. 20 (4): 341–348. Bibcode:1981JApMe..20..341S. doi:10.1175/1520-0450(1981)020<0341:WVMBAD>2.0.CO;2.
  6. ^ "Waterspout". answers.com. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  7. ^ Keith C. Heidorn. Islandnet.com (ed.). "Water Twisters". The Weather Doctor Almanach. Archived from the original on 29 May 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  8. ^ Lewis, Avi (3 November 2014). "Waterspout wows Tel Aviv waterfront". The Times of Israel. Archived from the original on 11 January 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  9. ^ "Several waterspouts filmed on Lake Michigan in US". BBC News. 20 August 2012. Archived from the original on 29 April 2021. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  10. ^ Taylor, Stanley (13 January 1913). "Antarctic Diary Part 4: The S.Y. Aurora's stay in Commonwealth Bay Adelie Land waiting for Dr Douglas Mawson and the Far East Party to return, working on the Marconi Wireless". antarcticdiary.wordpress.com. Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  11. ^ Joanne Simpson; G. Roff; B. R. Morton; K. Labas; G. Dietachmayer; M. McCumber; R. Penc (December 1991). "A Great Salt Lake Waterspout". Monthly Weather Review. AMS. 119 (12): 2741–2770. Bibcode:1991MWRv..119.2741S. doi:10.1175/1520-0493-119-12-2740.1.