Earlier today, just off the coast of Galveston, TX, a waterspout took form which drew attention from many beach-goers and Galvestonians alike.


This was actually the second time this week that a waterspout was spotted in this area, as Monday also saw another occurrence.

The National Weather Service office for the Houston and Galveston area issued a Special Marine Warning this morning for those in boats or near the shoreline during the waterspout activity.

What makes a waterspout?

Waterspouts, luckily, are normally weaker than their land-based cousins, tornadoes. It's a general rule of thumb that if you are on your boat and encounter a waterspout, your best course of action is to stay at a 90-degree angle to its path.

There are actually two types of waterspouts that we see along U.S. coastlines: fair-weather and tornadic.

Luckily for Galveston, both incidents this week fell under the fair-weather criteria. So, what's the difference?

Fair-weather waterspouts are formed during, you guessed it, fair and calm weather. Around morning to early afternoon hours, warm air will start to circulate at the water's surface and move upwards forming that iconic funnel we all know and love.

For tornadic waterspouts, a thunderstorm is needed to spurn tornadoes that venture from land to water, or vice versa. The direction of warm air also differs between the two, as tornadic waterspouts are formed from circulating air moving down from storm clouds, rather than up.

Saltwater Recon has a video of the encounter in Galveston on their X account.

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