A huge ominous tornado-like weather event descended over a town leaving residents worried about the destruction it might cause.
A “rare” and dangerous tornado-like waterspout has hit in a bay on the south coast of Cuba.
The sinister looking meteorological event saw the spout descend from dark, ominous clouds at around 5pm on Saturday Cuba time, close to the city of Cienfuegos.
News agency Reuters reported that the long lasting and huge waterspout was a “rare” occurrence. Indeed, very few are usually seen around Cuba. However, at least three such waterspouts have now been reported in and around Cienfuegos Bay over the last four months.
So dramatic was the enormous swirling waterspout’s eight minute existence that locals took dozens and videos and snaps of the phenomenon.
The spout formed following a day of storms in the area.
“Without a doubt it is a beautiful show,” Virgilio Regueira, a meteorologist at the Cienfuegos Provincial Meteorological Centre said on Facebook.
“But be very careful, because we know that they are very dangerous.”
Waterspouts like ‘alien invasion’
According to Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Dean Narramore, waterspouts are extraordinary weather events that have been said to look like “the start of an alien invasion”.
The spout is a spinning column of air that sucks up water from the sea and twists it connecting the water below and the cloud above.
They form when winds blowing in different locations meet and have nowhere else to go but up.
“They are spectacular but short lived, usually lasting no more than five minutes,” Mr Narramore wrote in The Conversation.
“Winds inside the waterspout can be faster than 100 kilometres per hour, and they can do great damage to boats at sea.
“Waterspouts are in some ways like the tornadoes that form over land. But where tornadoes are associated with huge supercell thunderstorms, waterspouts can form during smaller storms or even just showers or the presence of the right kind of clouds.”
Waterspouts rarely come onshore but when they do they can cause severe damage. One such twister hit land at Lennox Head, south of Byron Bay in northern New South Wales, in 2010 and went in to destroy dozens of homes.
After the twister’s eight minute life it then descended into the sea and no damage was caused, said the Meteorological Centre.