Waterspout Draws Awe From Barnegat Bay Watchers

A large waterspout stretches high above the Barnegat Bay on May 8. The conditions were just right to cause its formation. (Photo by Michelle Brooks)

  JERSEY SHORE – Seeing a giant waterspout emerging from the Barnegat Bay is just as scary as seeing an approaching tornado. Many people in Seaside Park, Toms River, Brick and other bayfront areas of the county witnessed it on May 8.

  Often compared to a tornado hovering above the ocean, a waterspout is a spiraling column of mist and air. That unusual condition came about from a coastal weather front – a combination of wind, rain showers and hail.

  Social media was filled with photos that showed the menacing display of force within the Barnegat Bay. People posted spectacular videos and photos.

  Members of the Seaside Park Volunteer Fire Company reported via Twitter that the spout was seen between Toms River and Seaside Heights just north of Route 37 and the Tunney-Matthis bridge.

  Around 2-2:30 p.m. reports began coming in from Seaside Heights and other areas to the National Weather Service location in Mount Holly.

Photo by Michelle Brooks

  National Weather Service representative Brian Haines said his agency issued a special marine warning around the coastal area from the Little Egg Harbor inlet to Manasquan in Monmouth County advising boaters to seek safe harbor immediately.

  Although waterspouts can capsize boats, there were no known reports of injuries or damages.

  Last year, the shore area experienced two waterspouts and some additional funnel clouds were observed as thunderstorms swept through the area.