Waterspout spotted off the coast of Jackson County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Waterspout spotted off the coast of Jackson County

Bruce Bosarge spotted this waterspout about 4 miles off the coast of Ocean Springs Thursday, August 10, 2017 Bruce Bosarge spotted this waterspout about 4 miles off the coast of Ocean Springs Thursday, August 10, 2017
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

A waterspout was spotted a few miles off the coast of Jackson County Thursday morning as thunderstorms began to develop over the sound and push inland.

Bruce Bosarge captured this video of the waterspout churning over the water before it dissipated.

There were no reports of it making it onshore or causing any damage.

How do they form?
Waterspouts form when an area of pre-existing horizontal spin is tilted vertically to produce vertical spin. Imagine a straw rolling across the table. That is a tube of horizontal spin. This exists naturally along the coast line due to the back and forth motion of the sea and land breeze.

When thunderstorms form in an area of pre-existing horizontal spin, the rising air in the thunderstorm causes the spin to tilt. Imagine taking your straw and turning it vertically and rotating it. That is vertical spin.

As the air continues to rise, it stretches the horizontal spin, causing it to become stronger where clouds begin to form around the spinning tube of air.

Is a waterspout a tornado?
Waterspouts are considered tornadoes over the water. However, they are different from waterspouts produced by rotating thunderstorms called supercells. Tornadoes formed by supercells are driven by strong upper level winds that make them more intense and last longer. If these form over the water, they are considered waterspouts but, fall into a sub-category called tornadic waterspouts. 

All waterspouts are dangerous and can cause damage if they move onshore. They pose a significant risk to people caught out in the water. 

Eric Jeansonne
WLOX Meteorologist  

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly