Maui News

Water Spout Reported in Waters Off Mākena, Maui

March 29, 2014, 10:23 PM HST
* Updated March 30, 8:12 AM
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Water Spout, photo by Mitch Palmer.

Water Spout, photo by Mitch Palmer.

By Wendy Osher

Maui Now received reports of a waterspout seen at around 1:50 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, in waters off of Maui.

The photo included in this post was taken at Oneloa Beach (Big Beach) in Mākena looking towards Kahoʻolawe.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service defines a water spout with the following description:

“In general, a tornado occurring over water. Specifically, it normally refers to a small, relatively weak rotating column of air over water beneath a Cb or towering cumulus cloud. Waterspouts are most common over tropical or subtropical waters.

This photo was taken from a boat outside of Mākena at around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, 2014. Photo courtesy Spencer Boomer.

This photo was taken from a boat outside of Mākena at around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, 2014. Photo courtesy Spencer Boomer.

The exact definition of waterspout is debatable. In most cases the term is reserved for small vortices over water that are not associated with storm-scale rotation (i.e., they are the water-based equivalent of landspouts). But there is sufficient justification for calling virtually any rotating column of air a waterspout if it is in contact with a water surface.” 

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The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement that remains in effect through 6 a.m. on Sunday, because of a powerful upper level low that began affecting the state on Friday.  Agency forecasters said the system was expected to bring scattered thunderstorms capable of producing gusty winds, frequent lightning, intense downpours and funnel clouds.

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