The tornado-like vortex was seen on Monday evening. (HT photo)
The tornado-like vortex was seen on Monday evening. (HT photo)

‘Unusual’ waterspout fascinates Goa beachgoers; usually harmless say scientists

Scientists have, however, sought to reassure that the phenomenon is likely local and not as unusual as people expect.
By Gerard de Souza
UPDATED ON JUN 08, 2021 11:40 PM IST

An unusual waterspout (a columnar vortex) that emerged amid wet, gusty weather along the Goa coastline at the Calangute beach left citizens amazed, yet worried after the video of the incident went viral, HT has learnt.

Scientists have, however, sought to reassure that the phenomenon is likely local and not as unusual as people expect.

“It is a type of a whirlwind that occurs when cool air above comes in contact with warm water over the sea. It isn’t particularly dangerous,” Dr Ramesh Kumar, former weather scientist at the National Institute of Oceanography, said.

“It is quite unlikely that the phenomenon is recent in nature. It is more likely that with recording devices being more readily available and technology having improved that we are able to witness these,” he said, adding that curiosity in the occurrence has also increased over the years.

The tornado-like vortex was seen on Monday evening reaching down from the sky amid overcast conditions, swirling over the waves and reaching right up to the clouds, people who saw it first hand described as having witnessed it for the first time.

Meanwhile, a lifeguarding agency named Drishti has warned beachgoers that the safest way is to move perpendicular to the direction the whirlwind is moving.

“A waterspout is a vertical funnel of high-velocity wind and condensed water moving over the sea; there can be two kinds of tornadic or fair-weather and they usually last 5-10 minutes with speed up to 100kmph. As in the case of Baga, they can move to or from land. To stay safe, move at a 90-degree angle to its movement and do not go closer to explore,” the agency stated.

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