WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - Sunday at 3:34 pm, the National Weather Service confirmed the formation of a waterspout off of Wrightsville Beach.
A Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue lifeguard reported the waterspout just 200 yards off of the beach, over Billy Murrell Reef.
The spout was short-lived and moved south at 5 knots, just off the shoreline.
There was no severe thunderstorm or tornado warning with this storm, but once it moved offshore, NWS issued a special marine warning for the formation of the waterspout.
In general, a waterspout is a tornado that forms over water. If it moves onto land, then the NWS will issue a tornado warning.
There are two types of waterspouts:
- Tornadic Waterspouts: These types of waterspouts form from the base of a thunderstorm, under the same conditions as a tornado. It needs warm, moist air to provide the unstable atmosphere for it’s formation.
- Fair Weather Waterspouts: These waterspouts can form in calm and fair weather. These don’t need a thunderstorm to form. They normally form with a light wind. These typically form at the surface and form upward.