Waterspout spotted in southern Tongatapu

A large water funnel resembling a tornado was seen in the south-western sea of Tonga from the Blow Holes coastline at the village of Houma yesterday.

Amateur footages  captured by Dr Sayri Kawamura, a project manager of the Malimali Dental project in Tonga, shows a whirling column of air and water formed in the ocean. 

The images were uploaded this morning to Facebook and below was one of the captions:

“15th Feb 2014–Picture taken by Dr Sayuri Kawamura of the SPMT(Japan) AT THE SEA NEAR THE BLOW HOLES–saw this funnel cloud rotating cone-shaped column extending downward from the base of the cloud touching the sea creating this oval shaped waterspouts—"

Sesilia Fifita was at the scene and she said it, “was a shock seeing this tiny tornado”.

Experts said water spouts could cause winds averaging between 120 – 200km/h.

About waterspout:

[Retrieved from oceanservice.noaa.gov] Waterspouts fall into two categories: fair weather waterspouts and tornadic waterspouts.

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.

Fair weather waterspouts usually form along the dark flat base of a line of developing cumulus clouds. This type of waterspout is generally not associated with thunderstorms. While tornadic waterspouts develop downward in a thunderstorm, a fair weather waterspout develops on the surface of the water and works its way upward. By the time the funnel is visible, a fair weather waterspout is near maturity. Fair weather waterspouts form in light wind conditions so they normally move very little.

If a waterspout moves onshore, the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, as some of them can cause significant damage and injuries to people. Typically, fair weather waterspouts dissipate rapidly when they make landfall, and rarely penetrate far inland.

Source: Na’e sio ha ni’ihi ko ha kakai Tonga pehe ki ha kau muli mei he Pupu’apuhi ‘i Houma ki ha afā ‘ahiohio ne mapuna hake ‘i he potu tahi saute ‘o Tonga ‘aneafi. Na’e ‘i he feitu’u tonu ko ‘eni ‘a e Siapani ko e pule ‘eni ‘i he poloseki ‘a e Potunga Ta’aki Nifo ‘a Tonga ‘oku ui ko e Poloseki Malimali ‘o ne faitaa’i ai ‘e ia ‘a e afā ‘ahiohio ni. Ko ha komeni ‘eni ne to’o ‘e he Kaniva mei he Feisipuka hili hono tuku hake ki ai ‘a e ‘u taa ni ‘a ia na’e peheni hono fakalea i he lea ‘Ingilisi: “15 Fepueli 2014—ta na’e ‘ai ‘e Dr Sayuri Kawamura mei he SPMT (Japan) ‘I HE TAHI OFI KI HE PUPU’APUHI – [na’a ku] sio ki he ‘ao vilo fakafoneli tu’u hangatonu ‘o felea hifo ki lalo ‘o pa ki he tahi ‘o tupunga ai ha afā’ahiohio fuo ‘ōvolo”. Na’e ‘i he feitu’u ni foki mo Sesilia Fifita ko e taha ‘o e kau toketa ta’aki nifo ‘a Tonga pea na’a ne pehe ki he Kaniva “na’e faka’ohovale ‘a e sio ki he ki’i ‘ahiohio ko ‘eni”. 'Oku pehe 'e he kau taukei ko e afa 'ahiohio 'oku lava ke ne fakatupunga ha havili 'oku 'avalisi hono malohi 'i he kilomita 'e 120 - 200 he houa. ‘Oku ua ‘a e kalasi ‘o e afā ‘ahiohio: Ko e afā ‘ahiohio lolongo pea mo e ‘afā ‘ahiohio ‘u’ulu. Ko e afa ‘ahiohio ‘u’ulu ‘oku fa’u hake ia he vai pe ‘unu mei he fonua ki tahi. ‘Oku anga tatau pe mo e ‘ahiohio ‘i ‘uta. ‘Oku vakavakaua ‘ene fononga ‘ana mo ha mana lahi faka’ulia, pea fa’a ō ua mo ha tu’oni matangi mo e tahi hou, ‘uha maka ‘aisi lalahi pea fa’a fakatu’utamaki ‘ene ‘uhila. Ko e afā ‘ahiohio lolongo ‘oku fa’a fa’u ia mei ha pupunga ‘ao faka’uli’uli. ‘Oku ‘ikai angamaheni ke mana ‘a e afā’ahiohio ia ko ‘eni. Lolotonga ko e ‘afā ‘ahiohio ‘u’ulu ‘oku felea ia ‘o hifo ki lalo pea mana, ko e afā ‘ahiohio lolongo ‘oku ‘alu hake ia mei he fukahi vai ki ‘olunga. Ko ‘ene lava pe ke fai ha sio ki he‘ene fakafōneli mai ko ‘ene kamata ia ke a’u ‘a hono fa’u ki ha fo’i ‘ahiohio lolongo. ‘Oku tupu ‘ae ‘afa’ahiohio lolongo ‘i he ‘ea ‘oku angi iki pe pea angameheni ke si’i pe ha’ane nga’unu. ‘Oku angamaheni ‘a e afā’ahiohio lolongo ke vave pe ‘ene faka’aumate ‘i he taimi ‘oku to ai pea ‘oku ‘ikai fa’a loloto ha’ane hu ‘ana ki loto fonua.

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