Towering hundreds of meters over the sea, a waterspout formed Wednesday in a bay in Manzanillo, Colima.
Commonly called a culebra de mar (water snake) in Mexico, the tornado-like phenomenon appeared in Santiago bay, the smaller of Manzanillo’s two main coves.
It captured people’s attention around 1:30 in the afternoon before dissipating upon making landfall.
Waterspouts are common in the area during the rainy season, and can also occur over lakes and rivers.
On July 24, a group of surfers spotted one over the open ocean while they were riding waves off Peña Blanca Beach, in Manzanillo bay.
According to experts, the whirlwind formed by a waterspout can reach speeds up to 80 kilometers an hour, and the column can reach heights of 900 meters above the water.
The diameter is usually 15 to 46 meters, though larger ones can be as wide as 100 meters.
A waterspout dissipates when it hits land or the air inside the whirlwind becomes cold, losing the energy to spin. Although stronger ones can last up to an hour, the average lifetime of a waterspout is just 10-15 minutes.
The energy in a waterspout is equivalent to a weak tornado on land. Though not devastating on a large scale, they can be potentially dangerous to boats and coastal infrastructure.
Sources: AF Medios (sp)