A thin waterspout tornado formed off the southwestern Philippine coast on Tuesday November 16.
Video released by the local public works ministry in Tawi-Tawi province shows the twister swirling some distance away from Sanga-Sanga island. The air column appeared to extend from the dark clouds down to the sea below.
Waterspout tornadoes form when wind merges from opposite directions near the water’s surface, creating a small area of spin. Warm air at the surface causes the spinning air to rotate faster and it starts to rise – picking up water at the same time and forming a cloud.
Sometimes the air spins so fast that it stretches and a funnel appears from the water to the thunderstorm cloud above.
Waterspouts are generally not dangerous but they can be a risk for aircraft flying through the area and for coral reefs and marine life in the water immediately below. Sailors should also try to avoid waterspouts – as the consequences of floating into one could be disastrous.