This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
BATEMAN'S BAY — A rare and large waterspout formed just off the coast of Bateman's Bay in New South Whales Australia Sunday, and several people caught it on their cameras and cell phones.
The BBC reports that the spout didn't cause any damage and stayed off the coast, but that severe weather was expected to increase in the area over the day.
Waterspouts in the U.S. are commonly seen just off the coast in Florida.
The spouts form when cold water over land blows across warm air over water, leading to a funnel cloud. They generally do not pick up water: the white visible funnel cloud is actually condensation formed by the whipping air.
The physics that leads to water spouts is different than those that cause a tornado, though Waterspouts and tornados look similar. It is also possible for a tornado to form over water, leading to a tornadic water spout, also called a tornado over water.