Huge spinning waterspout looms over the ocean off Thailand as beachgoers swim and paddle dinghies
- The waterspout formed over the sea in Chonburi province in east of the country
- Waterspouts are columns of swirling tornado clouds that form over water
- The region has been battered with heavy rain and humid weather this week
This is the moment a large waterspout formed off the coast of Thailand as beachgoers relaxed seemingly unaware of the tornado cloud on the horizon.
The watersprout stretched from dark grey clouds into the ocean in Chonburi province, in eastern Thailand, shortly after 3pm on Wednesday.
By the time it was captured on camera, the waterspout, had turned into a mature vortex reaching maximum intensity, making a funnel shape.
The waterspout formed in Chonburi province on Wednesday afternoon in eastern Thailand
Waterspouts are intense columns of swirling tornado clouds that form over a body of water.
It could be seen rising several hundred feet into the air as beachgoers continued to swim and float in dinghies in the water, while others relaxed on the sand.
At one point someone rides through the water’s edge on a bike.
Waterspouts are most commonly found in subtropical areas and disappear shortly after they come into contact with land.
The region has been battered with heavy rain along with overcast and humid weather over the last few days.
Tropical Storm Nuri ripped China’s Guangdong province over the weekend with ripple effects causing storms in Thailand.
It could be seen rising several hundred feet into the air as beachgoers continued to swim and float in dinghies in the water, while others relaxed on the sand. At one point someone rides through the water’s edge on a bike
Hundreds of homes have been damaged from the storms and many streets have flooded.
The Thai Meteorological Department forecast heavy rainstorms throughout the country weakening by the weekend.
Thailand’s humid Southeast Asian climate combined with fierce thunderstorms can often give rise to waterspouts in coastal areas.
WATERSPOUTS: DEADLY FUNNELS THAT CAN RISE HUNDREDS OF FEET
What are they and why do they form?
Waterspouts are whirling columns of air and water mist.
They form when cumulus clouds grow rapidly. These clouds are detached, fluffy-looking and cauliflower-shaped.
Cumulus clouds develop due to convection. This is when hot air rises and cools to form water vapour, which then condenses to form clouds.
They fall into two categories: ‘fair weather’ and ‘tornadic’
(1) Tornadic waterspouts
These are tornadoes that form over water, or move from land to water, and develop downwards during thunderstorms.
They have the same characteristics as a land tornado and can be accompanied by high winds and seas, large hail and lightning.
(2) Fair weather waterspouts
These usually form along the dark flat base of a line of developing cumulus clouds and develop upwards from the surface of water.
They are generally not associated with thunderstorms and form in light wind conditions so don’t move very much.
The five stages of formation
1. Dark spot: A light-coloured disk appears on the water’s surface surrounded by a larger darker area
2. Spiral pattern: A combination of light and dark patches on the water spiral out from the dark spot
3. Spray ring: A ring of sea spray appears around the dark spot
4. Mature vortex: The waterspout reaches maximum intensity, making a funnel shape which appears hollow. It can rise several hundred feet.
5. Decay: The funnel and spray vortex begin to dissipate as the inflow of warm air into the vortex weakens
Sources: Met Office / National Ocean Service / National Weather Service
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