SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Strong storms on Saturday brought heavy rain, gusty winds and even a few waterspouts along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. While tracking storms across the area, Meteorologists Eric Jeansonne and Andrew Wilson captured a small waterspout on the WLOX Tower Cam right off the beach in Gulfport.
The video shows the waterspout dancing across the water near Jones Park. As like most waterspouts, this one was short-lived and caused no damage.
In general, NOAA classifies water spouts into two categories: fair weather water spouts and tornadic water spouts. Fair weather water spouts typically form under the base of weak thunderstorm clouds and develop from the ground up. These are typically weak and short lived, because they are not associated with the strong upper level and lower level winds that help form tornadoes.
Tornadic water spouts are stronger, as they are essentially tornadoes over water. Tornadoes are produced by rotating thunderstorms called supercells. When a supercell produces a tornado over the water, it is called a water spout. These can last longer as they are supported by strong upper level and lower level winds and can be more destructive.
Both fair weather water spouts and tornadic water spouts post serious threats to boats and ships on the water. Both types can cause damage if they hit structures.