Videos show wild week of waterspouts from Florida to Greece
There are two dominant types of waterspouts – supercell waterspouts and what are often referred to as “fair weather” waterspouts. Supercell waterspouts are associated with strong rotating thunderstorms and share many characteristics with tornadoes that form on land. Fair weather waterspouts, which form without a strong parent thunderstorm, develop largely through spinning closer to the surface rather than in the clouds. They tend to be weak but can sometimes pack a punch.
A damaging tornadic waterspout passed through parts of Smith Island
Any waterspout that touches land, even briefly before dying, becomes a tornado.
At times, the waterspout seemed almost indistinguishable from an elephant trunk tornado, losing some of its width and definition as it transformed into a loose, curvy shape. No injuries or damage were reported during this storm.
On Tuesday, what appeared to be a strong waterspout formed off Destin, Florida, which is on the state’s Gulf Coast. The large waterspout was captured as it moved parallel to at least one beach resort, with an intense thunderstorm shooting lightning behind the storm.
Mobile’s weather service then posted tweets explaining how Tuesday’s waterspout formed.
“Destin’s waterspout was quite impressive and shows what the idealized environment can do to produce waterspouts,” Mobile’s weather service tweeted, adding that a large amount of spin amid severe thunderstorms allowed the intense falls to form.
Despite the intensity of the storm, no injuries or damage were reported as the waterspout remained safely offshore.
A waterspout also formed off the coast of the UK on Tuesday, a location not usually associated with tornadoes.
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The twisted tendril of the waterspout landed near the mouth of Fowey Harbour, which is in the south of the country and faces the busy English Channel. The video shows the rope-like spout funnel connecting to the surface as the storm kicks up tons of water.
According to reports from the Independent, thunderstorms caused chaos in parts of the UK on Tuesday and Wednesday, with flash flooding affecting parts of London. Yellow thunderstorm warnings were in effect for the coastline where the waterspout formed.
“It was an incredible, remarkable sight,” Mark McCartney, who spotted the waterspout and took video of it, told the Independent.
Back in Florida, another waterspout formed early Wednesday afternoon just off Reddington Beach, a town near Tampa Bay. Video captured by beachgoers shows the noisy waterspout kicking up water a few feet from shore before it moves across the beach, becoming a potentially dangerous tornado.
The images show several pieces of small flying debris in the air as the base of the tornado descends the beach, nearly crushing several people. A man appears to be almost hit by the tornado as it slammed its way over a beachside pool, violently tossing chairs through the air.
WFLA chief meteorologist Jeff Berardelli told his station that the waterspout was a fair weather type because there was no parent thunderstorm supporting its development – although such waterspouts can still cause minor damage.
Two weeks ago, another waterspout washed ashore on Smith’s Island, Maryland, destroying several homes and injuring at least one woman. The twister was later classified as a top-of-the-line EF-1 with winds of up to 100 mph, according to the National Weather Service.