NASA’s Image Of The Day
Waterspouts are basically non-supercell tornadoes that form over water. The east coast side of Florida and the Atlantic Ocean in general is arguably the most active area for water weather in the world. And waterspouts are part of those weather patterns.
(Cumulo- means “heap” or “pile” in Latin.) Cumulus clouds are a genus-type of low-level cloud that can have noticeable vertical development and clearly defined edges. They are often described as “puffy” or “cotton-like” in appearance, and generally have flat bases. According to Wikipedia.
It’s from these types of clouds that waterspouts form from most frequently. Most people believe the cloud is sucking up water from the ground. Actually it’s the opposite. The funnel cloud is made of water, but they are the droplets from the cloud falling to the ground.
While many waterspouts form in the tropics, other areas also report waterspouts, including Europe, New Zealand, the Great Lakes and even Antarctica.
NASA’s picture of the day page has a great link to Wikipedia’s explanation of what Waterspouts are and how they’re formed. Check it out. We learned quite a bit today.