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Enormous waterspout forms off New Zealand coast



A huge waterspout has been sighted off the Horowhenua coast, but no damage has been reported.

Rugged weather hit the west coast of the lower North Island in New Zealand on Monday morning, with numerous people reporting they saw a waterspout.

There was heavy rain, dark stormy clouds and hail.

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Lynn Potbury saw the waterspout from Himatangi Beach. She said there were two at the start, the sea was rough and the wind picked up.

"No noise, but it was spectacular watching it move closer as [we] watched from shore.

"Then out came a rainbow and blue sky and wind died down as if nothing happened."

MetService meteorologist Mmathapelo​ Makgabutlane said waterspouts were a type of small-scale tornado that occurred over water.

"This one is normally referred to as a cold-season tornado because it is tied to a cold front that moves northwards over the country."

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She said a waterspout like this was not uncommon and was caused by a difference in winds at low and high levels, called wind shear.

Whether it came over land depended on its movement and what damage it could cause depended on how strong the wind was, Makgabutlane said.

She said tornados had the potential for damage because of the column of rotating air, but this one was on a small scale.

There were no MetService warnings for the area.

A statement from the Horowhenua District Council said they had received reports of a tornado between Foxton and Himitangi, as well as northeast Levin, but had received no reports of damage.

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This article initially appeared on Stuff and is republished here with permission.

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