Kaddy Lee-Preston's official blog

Tornado or waterspout?


Well, actually neither!   This is a funnel cloud which is trying to gain the strength to become a waterspout – and what a sight that would’ve been!  Andy Holloway was driving in Peacehaven and at 09:58 (22/6/11)  when he spotted a strange dark cylinder protuding from the base of a deep layer of stratocumulus.   Being a savvy spotter he whipped out his camera and caught it red handed (and knowing how quickly these things develop he did well to catch it in time).  The strange phenomenon continued to take form and moved out to sea – it’s at this point it could no longer become a tornado as they only form over land.   For either a tornado or a waterspout to happen the funnel cloud has to touch down with the land or sea respectively.  Although the funnel cloud didn’t ever stretch more than say 50ft (as a guesstimate) if you look very closely you can see that the surface of the water below is already becoming ruffled by the swirling column of air above it…gives you an insight into how powerful it could’ve been were it to have hit the jackpot and become a fully fledged waterspout!

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Comments on: "Tornado or waterspout?" (5)

  1. Bill Beer said:

    We photographed a similar funnel forming over south Essex on the way home from a show a couple of weeks ago.

  2. Hi, Actually, if you looked at the original images carefully and zoomed it a bit, you would have seen that it did touch down on the sea surface and therefore is a waterspout. Andy emailed the images to me which I darkened slightly using Gimp software to get more contrast.


    • Kaddy x said:

      Hi, Thanks! I got my graphics team to increase the contrast too but we didn’t see anything – however the fact that the water was being affected does suggest it could have been a ‘weak’ waterspout. I appreciate you taking the time to look as well!

      • Hi, I think you will only see it in the original size image. Did Andy email it to you? if so, look abount 10mm to the right of the concrete pole and just above where the light colour sea and dark colour sea meet.

  3. I videoed the Benfleet Tornado in 2009 and believe its the only video around. Serch for “benfleet tornado” on you tube to see it and my other weather videos.

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