Mini-twister spotted at sea

The mini-twister
The mini-twister
Share this article

THIS mini-twister off the coast of Hastings was captured by camera by a St Leonards resident on Sunday.

Elliot Leigh saw the phenomenon at around 1pm just before the town was hit with a heavy rain shower.

He said: “I followed the mini-twister, or waterspout, from far out as it was trying to touch down. It came pretty close in and was followed by a torrential downfall.”

David Powell, borough meteorologist, said such phenomena usually occurred in thundery weather.

He said: “The water starts circulating in the middle of the storm and you usually get alternating winds clashing against each other.

“On Sunday afternoon we had a northerly wind in one direction clashing with a south westerly one, causing the mini-twister or waterspout.

“If it had reached land it would have been a mini tornado and taken a few tiles and tree branches off. But it wasn’t very strong.”

A waterspout is a vortex that usually appears as a funnel-shaped cloud over a body of water, such as the sea, collected to a cloud.

While it is often weaker than most of its land counterparts, stronger versions spawned by mesocyclones do occur.

While many waterspouts form in the tropics, many can also occur in Europe, New Zealand, the Great Lakes in the USA and Antarctica.

They are common across the western coast of Europe as well as the British Isles and several areas of the Mediterranean and Baltic Sea.

They are most common in late summer. Stronger waterspouts can be dangerous, posing threats to water craft, aircraft and swimmers.

It is recommended to keep a considerable distance from these phenomena, and to always be on alert through weather reports.