Search

‘Rare’ tornadic waterspout spotted off Suffolk coast

PUBLISHED: 17:02 28 August 2020 | UPDATED: 09:36 29 August 2020

A tornadic waterspout which formed off the Suffolk coast earlier today. Photo: Mark Bowler

A tornadic waterspout which formed off the Suffolk coast earlier today. Photo: Mark Bowler

Archant

A tornadic waterspout has been spotted off the Suffolk coast as thunderstorms and rain created the “ideal conditions” for its formation.

The Suffolk waterspout in action, which lasted from around 1.45-1.55pm earlier  this afternoon. Photo: Nina HannanThe Suffolk waterspout in action, which lasted from around 1.45-1.55pm earlier this afternoon. Photo: Nina Hannan

At 1.45pm on Friday, what looked like a tornado-at-sea appeared on the horizon just north-east of Walberswick, near Southwold.

And according to Weatherquest meterologist Dan Holley, that’s exactly what it was.

He said: “A tornadic waterspout is similar to a tornado - but a tornado itself can only happen on land.

“They’re generally quite rare in the UK, and not many people get the chance to actually see one while it’s happening. We get about 35-40 of them a year, but most are weak and go unnoticed or unreported.

“Today, however, the conditions are ideal for them. Winds were light at the water’s surface, and when they blow in different directions it causes wind conversion.

“This creates a bit of a spin near-ground level, which gets pulled up into the thunderstorm above it.

“That’s when you get a funnel cloud, or a waterspout, which is what you see on this video.”

He added: “A lot of them are very weak and don’t last long at all. It all depends on the set-up.”

According to Mark Bowler, who videoed the phenomenon, this specific waterspout did not last more than ten minutes.

While Mr Holley added that some tornadoes can be very damaging in the UK - such as the Birmingham tornado of 2005 - most waterspouts are not destructive.

He said: “Today we have thunderstorms forming in a distinct line up the coast and this is ideal for them, so the waterspouts could theoretically last for a lot longer. There’s already been one off the coast at Kent earlier this morning.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times