A waterspout was photographed off northern Long Beach Island this morning.
The torrential rains that flooded much of Ocean County spawned the spout, seen from various vantage points along the island.
The National Ocean Service defines a water spout as a whirling column of air and mist. There are two types: fair weather, which are not associated with thunderstorms, and likely what onlookers saw today, tornadic.
“Tornadic waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water, or move from land to water. They have the same characteristics as a land tornado. They are associated with severe thunderstorms, and are often accompanied by high winds and seas, large hail, and frequent dangerous lightning,” NOS officials said.
Such water spouts are basically tornadoes that form over water, and should be considered dangerous. If this particular spout had moved onshore, a tornado warning would have been issued.
A waterspout hit the Jersey Shore July 6, 2018, videoed and photographed by numerous people in the Brick Township and Normandy Beach area over the Atlantic Ocean. And it was just last year in July when a New Jersey family encountered a water spout while canoeing in Downe Township, in Cumberland County. They were crabbing along marshes on the Delaware River when a water spout barreled toward them. The funnel came within 20 feet of their canoe, but turned at the last moment before it could hit them.