Tropical Waterspout

Panama waterspout

Panama panorama Altos Del Maria

Altos Del Maria, Panama.   Wednesday 19th April, 2017.  Ten minutes before 5pm. 

It had been a dull afternoon, and there had been some heavy rain.  After the rain was over, there were some nice clouds above the mountains (and some romantic mists meandering along the valley).   So, as per usual, I took a few HDR panoramic photos (2 or 3 photos of the panorama, that later get stitched together, on the computer).

I noticed nothing strange in the viewfinder at the time.  But I did like the look of one dark wispy cloud, and zoomed in for a closer view.   The following night, on reviewing the pictures, something caught my attention (see below). 

Panama tornado

Panama tropical waterspout

By jings, there’s a huge waterspout, in that photograph, and it seems to be feeding off the cumulus cloud below it. 

It was by sheer good fortune that it was caught on camera. 

On reading further, apparently waterspouts fall into two main areas i.e. fair weather waterspouts and tornadic waterspouts.

The weather folk say that fair weather waterspouts usually form along the dark flat base of a line of developing cumulus clouds.  Apparently fair weather waterspouts form initially at the water source, before the funnel then makes it’s way upwards.

Waterspouts can cause significant damage – although the fair weather waterspout type seemingly moves very little, and thus is less dangerous.  And by the time the funnel is visible, the waterspout has reached maturity and is beginning to disappear. 

What a wonderful weather phenomenon caught, by pure accident, on camera.

UPDATE – there is a follow-up post, with more images at: More Panama Waterspouts