Home News Non-supercell tornado spotted over waters of East Coast Park

Non-supercell tornado spotted over waters of East Coast Park

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Several Twitter users posted pictures of a waterspout at East Coast Park today (6 Aug) afternoon. Some mistook it for a tornado.


The Twitter users are not entirely wrong, the Weather channel describes Waterspouts as “a non-supercell tornado over water”.

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The National Environment Agency (NEA) explained on its website that waterspouts are generally weaker and not as powerful and destructive as tornados, and that waterspouts are not uncommon to Singapore.

NEA however cautioned that “nevertheless, temporary wind gust of 40-80 km/h can be expected, and could still pose a danger or cause damage to vessels close to the vortex or within the area. In addition, with the presence of intense thunderstorms in the vicinity, lightning, strong winds and flash floods can be expected and the necessary safety precautions should be taken.”

NEA further explained:

“A waterspout is a weather phenomenon usually observed under cumuliform clouds during intense weather conditions associated with thunderstorms. Due to the lower pressure conditions under the clouds in such conditions, one or two columns of water can be sucked towards the base of the clouds, giving the traditional picture of a funnel. While the thin column or funnel appears to be sucking water up, it is actually water droplets in a rotating vortex of air. As the air rotates and rises, the humid air cools and vapour condenses, making the whirling mass visible.

Waterspouts can occur at any time of the year, but more likely between March and October when intense thunderstorm formation is highly possible. An average of three occurrences of waterspouts over Singapore waters has been reported yearly. In waters off Singapore, the speed of the movement of the waterspouts over water could be up to 8 metres per second (28 km/h). Waterspouts tend to have a short life cycle of up to tens of minutes and they usually dissipate rapidly upon reaching the coast.

While waterspouts are generally associated with the occurrence of intense thunderstorms over the sea, it is difficult to forecast the occurrence of waterspouts because not all thunderstorms lead to the formation of waterspouts.”

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