Tuesday 20 November, 2018

Water spout spotted near Orange Valley

Citizens reportedly sighted what appeared to be a waterspout near the coast of Orange Valley on Friday afternoon.

Photos shared to social media showed the spout hovering over Trinidad around 4:30 pm on Friday.

However, witnesses reported that the system dissipated as quickly as it had formed. 

Waterspouts have been previously spotted in the Gulf of Paria and other locations off the coast of Trinidad.

(Video: a waterspout spotted off the coast of Cedros in 2017).

 

What is a water spout?

According to the US National Ocean Service, waterspouts fall into two categories: fair weather waterspouts and tornadic waterspouts.

Tornadic waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water or move from land to water. They have the same characteristics as a land tornado.

They are associated with severe thunderstorms and are often accompanied by high winds and seas, large hail, and frequent dangerous lightning.

Fair weather waterspouts usually form along the dark flat base of a line of developing cumulus clouds. This type of waterspout is generally not associated with thunderstorms.

While tornadic waterspouts develop downward in a thunderstorm, a fair weather waterspout develops on the surface of the water and works its way upward.

By the time the funnel is visible, a fair weather waterspout is near maturity. Fair weather waterspouts form in light wind conditions so they normally move very little. 

If a waterspout moves onshore, the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, as some of them can cause significant damage and injuries to people.

Typically, fair weather waterspouts dissipate rapidly when they make landfall, and rarely penetrate far inland.

According to NOAA's National Weather Service, the best way to avoid a waterspout is to move at a 90-degree angle to its apparent movement. Never move closer to investigate a waterspout. Some can be just as dangerous as tornadoes.

 

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