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Sep 30, 2017 1:30 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Severe Weather Spawns Waterspouts In Westhampton Beach On Saturday Afternoon

Oct 3, 2017 11:29 AM

The National Weather Service in Upton confirmed that a waterspout formed in the ocean near Moriches Inlet on Saturday.

A special marine warning was issued by the National Weather Service shortly after noon on Saturday, noting that a severe thunderstorm capable of producing waterspouts was moving south near Moriches Inlet. A release on its website warned that waterspouts are capable of overturning boats and creating locally hazardous seas.

Waterspouts form when there is spin in the lower atmosphere and an unstable upper atmosphere, according to a spokesman for National Weather Service. He said there are two types of waterspouts: fair weather—described as not very destructive, fairly stationary and more common to the area—and tornadic, which are the opposite. The waterspouts on Saturday were neither, and fit into more of a hybrid category of the two, he said.

He said waterspouts in the area are typically 50 meters in diameter and have winds up to 55 mph.

Valerie Stillman watched the storm pass from her home in Westhampton Beach, and said she counted as many as seven visible waterspouts. “They were spectacular,” she said.

Ms. Stillman said she was on the beach watching dark clouds roll in from the north, when she saw white points coming out of them.

“They never developed into anything,” she said. “Then I looked toward Rogers Beach. It got darker, and the point got lower and lower. I saw it spinning in the water, just like you see a tornado as it kicks up the dust on dry ground. It was pulling up the ocean.”

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