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What are Waterspouts?

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What are Waterspouts?

Waterspouts forming over a body of water

NOAA
Question: What are Waterspouts?
Tornadoes are violent thunderstorms gone wild. But is a waterspout a tornado? By definition - A tornado is vertical column of spinning air from a cumulonimbus cloud that contacts the ground. So is a waterspout a type of tornado?

Answer:
Waterspouts are similar to tornadoes, but they form in a different manner. Generally, waterspouts are given the honor of being called a "tornado over water". But waterspouts are not truly given the name of a real tornado until they reach land.

The Two Types of Waterspouts

Water spouts can start as tornadoes over land. If they move over a body of water, they are classified as tornadic. This type of waterspout can be fairly destructive.

The second type of waterspout is formed over water initially due to warm temperatures in the lower atmosphere along with high humidity. Fair weather waterspouts are generally not as dangerous and are more common than tornadic waterspouts. However, boaters and people who live near larger bodies of water should take waterspout warnings and watches very seriously.


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