Several WHNT News 19 viewers sent in pictures of a waterspout near Decatur on the Tennessee River Sunday evening.
Waterspouts can sometimes cause damage if they move onshore, but the National Weather Service in Huntsville said “the storm associated with this phenomena is not severe. This feature could produce winds around 50 mph. However, this phenomena is weaker and much smaller than a tornado.”
Meteorologist Christina Edwards was monitoring the radar and the reports, below is her analysis of the situation.
Waterspouts fall into two categories: fair weather waterspouts and tornadic waterspouts. Sunday’s waterspout is considered “fair weather”, despite a thunderstorm nearby. It’s important to note that at no time did it pose a tornadic threat to the Morgan/Limestone County area on Sunday.
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.
Typically, fair weather waterspouts dissipate rapidly when they make landfall and rarely penetrate far inland.
Below are your waterspout photos from Sunday.