Waterspout activity increases as summer approaches

Waterspout activity increases as summer approaches

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - As summertime approaches, afternoon showers and thunderstorms will become a normal part of life here in south Mississippi. While these pop-up storms can bring much needed relief from the heat, they do pose the risk of producing waterspouts like like this waterspout spotted over St. Louis Bay Wednesday morning May 30th. 

Several waterspouts were spotted on Saturday, May 5, 2018 in Biloxi near Deer Island.

Waterspouts can happen anytime of the year, but they are most common in the late spring through summer.

There are two basic types of waterspouts: tornadic waterspouts and fair-weather waterspouts.

Tornadic waterspouts are caused by rotating thunderstorms called supercells. These thunderstorms rotate due to the change in speed and direction of winds as you go up with height, which is caused by the jet stream and strong upper-level low pressure systems. These are typically stronger and can survive over the water and on land.

Fair weather waterspouts are the more common ones that occur in the summer and are generally weaker than tornadic waterspouts and generally dissipate when they move onto land.

Video: Here is how they form

It is important to note that whether it is a tornadic waterspout or fair-weather waterspout, both are dangerous and pose a risk to those caught out on the beach or over the water.

If you spot a waterspout while on a boat, it is best to observe its movement and move away from it. If you can make it to land safely, do so.

If caught out on the beach, seek shelter inside immediately. Flying debris can cause injury or even death.

Eric Jeansonne
WLOX Meteorologist 

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