A Water Spout Captured Dramatically In The Florida Keys
So lets start with what a one actually is.
There are actually two types of Water Spout that can be viewed around the world.
The first one is known as a "Tornadic" spout because this destructive force of nature actually is a spin off from a real tornado.
What happens is the tornado, as you would expect, tears across the land, causing havoc to any unfortunate towns and individuals that get in its way until it runs out of land and hits the water.
You would expect it to die out, but instead it carries on, but this time dragging vast amounts of water from the sea, and turning it into a spinning vortex in the shape of a huge watery funnel
And these can be absolute monsters and can cause some serious damage.
The second type of water spout that can form, starts when the weather is good, unlike the tornadic version that needs a thunderstorm to get going.
These are known as "Fairweather waterspouts",and will only form over water.
They start very slowly indeed, an little by little get to a height of a couple of thousand feet in the air.
These are far more common and do not usually get anywhere near the amount of damage that the tornadic water spout can unleash.
John Caldwell, back in 1986 had an idea.
It was a dangerous idea which some would have said bordered on lunacy, but John wanted to prove what was going on inside a water spout.
Now I would have probably sent in someone I didn't like very much, but John had different ideas.
Instead he sailed out to sea and found himself a spout, and instead of turning around and sailing away like most normal people would do, John headed straight into the centre of the thing.
Now for years, people had been saying that inside the vortex, you would find a wall of water, with winds blowing at hurricane strength (it is called a water tornado after all).
And to make it even worse, sailors reckoned that at its base would be a whirlpool, that would suck you down to a watery death.
But he actually found something quite different.
There was no wall of water, there was just an empty space about 75 to 100 feet within the funnel, and no whirlpool.
Interestingly enough the high hurricane winds turned out to be about 30 miles per hour in strength.
Check out the diagram to the side, to see how the waterspouts are formed.
Where are waterspouts are most likely to occur?
There is no doubt that when it comes to waterspouts then the Florida Keys holds the gold medal.
For many different reasons that we will break down during this page, the Florida Keys can boast to create naturally somewhere between four hundred or five hundredof the things every year.
Now you may be reading this and go “Wow, that’s amazing. I bet that is all they talk about!”
But you know how it is when you see the same things every day, you get to the point that they are so common that people turn a blind eye to them.
But still they are amazing things, and for visitors to the Florida Keys can certainly be one the most incredible things that they get to see.
And like all things that nature does, they are truly amazing and don’t cost you a penny to marvel at their destructive nature either.
Joseph Golden, who is an expert in watery things, and works at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is quoted as saying “There is no doubt about it, the Florida Keys are the biggest, naturally occurring vortex lab in the world.
And that is why seeing a waterspout is more likely down here in the Keys than anywhere in the world.
So where is the best place now you know that is the Keys you have to head for?
Well they can actually happen anywhere, but certainly once you get past the island of Marathon (The Heart of the Florida Keys), you will be able to see them all the way down to Key West and then beyond.
I saw my first one, whilst travelling on the………………………………..to the fort of Dry Tortugas.
Water Spout Offshore In The Lower Keys
I thought it was brilliant, and as I was safely traveling away from the waterspouts was more than disappointed that it died out so quickly.
Probably wouldn't have thought the same, if it was crashing down upon the boat that sometimes happen to the unfortunate fisherman and sailors who patrol around the beaches of the Florida Keys and waters however.
The best time that you are most likely to view a water spout is in the early evening around four o’clock to seven o’clock.
This is boom time for spout viewing.
And they seem to like to appear around mealtimes, as the other great period is around midday, from eleven o’clock until one o’clock.
So if you fancy seeing one, make sure that you get ready to drop that sandwich and grab your camera instead as they do not last long.