Waterspouts spotted off Taiwan's east coast

Two waterspouts, tornadoes over the ocean, seen near Taitung


(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two waterspouts were spotted off the coast of Taitung on the afternoon of Aug. 5.

A waterspout is a swirling column of air and water mist, similar to a tornado in appearance, that forms over bodies of water.

Shortly after 4 p.m. the sky began to darken off Green Island and two waterspouts formed over the Pacific.

(CNA image)

A waterspout can appear particularly magnificent to those who have never witnessed one firsthand before, as the whirling column looks like it connects the ocean to the sky. One such viewer Hsu Bin-hsiang (徐斌翔) recalled that during Sunday's thunderstorm a waterspout suddenly appeared, forming in under one minute.

A member of the Central Weather Bureau in Taichung said waterspouts often form in the neighborhood of a thunderstorm or weather front. Like tornadoes waterspouts only last around 10 minutes.

They are divided into two categories. Fair weather waterspouts are less severe and more airy while tornadic waterspouts are formed in conjunction with a thunderstorm and are stronger, faster, and longer-lived.

(CNA video)