Photographer: Jim Hornung
Summary Author: Jim Hornung; Jim Foster
The photo above showing twin waterspouts offshore of Encinitas, California was observed in late September of 2007. These two funnels formed on a sultry afternoon in a weak weather system that pushed north from the Baja Californiaarea. As with a tornado, a waterspout is a rotating column of air that's suspended from a cumiloform parent cloud. If the rotation develops in the updraft of a supercell storm, it's considered to be tornadic. However, most spouts, like the pair above, aren't associated with thunderstorms at all but rather form in humid environments from the heat energyreleased when water vapor condenses. Such non-tornadic spouts are usually classified as F0 on the Fujita Scale.