Downpours moved through Connecticut on Sunday and in one Milford neighborhood, a waterspout formed over the ocean and came ashore.
Waterspouts aren’t unusual in this part of the country but they don’t often come ashore.
Richard Shain captured amazing footage of the waterspout at Anchor Beach in the borough of Woodmont in Milford around 10 a.m. Sunday.
The waterspout struggled to move over the sea wall. In the process, it tossed a heavy paddle board through the air and knocked a kayak into the water. Lawn chairs were blown around and water from a pool was sloshed out onto the nearby ground.
Waterspouts that move over land are considered tornadoes, however, this whirlwind was so small in scale it likely won’t go into the official weather logs as a tornado.
The National Weather Service based in Upton, New York on Monday reviewed the stunning footage and says the waterspout will probably be classified as a gustnado or landspout for the time it was over land.
It’s important to note a gray area exists in the definition of what happened on Anchor Beach in Milford.
Gustnadoes are small whirlwinds that form in thunderstorm outflows. They don’t connect with a rotating cloud, but are associated with cumuliform clouds. At the time this waterspout formed, a heavy downpour of convective origin was impacting the Milford area.
Landspouts are connected to a cloud with the spin originating near the ground. The parent cloud doesn’t yet have rotation, thus landspouts aren’t detected by Doppler radar. Additionally, the radar beam would likely be far above the rotation within the spout near the ground, and the spout too small in diameter to be detected.
While a landspout is considered to be a rare tornado by the American Meteorological Society, landspouts are different from most tornadoes.
The most common tornado is one with a rotating column of air that touches the ground and is connected to a rotating thunderstorm cloud. This type of tornado is said to be a supercell tornado. Major damage is done by supercell tornadoes, not landspouts.
NBC Connecticut First Alert meteorologists analyzed the video and estimated the wind speed within the circulation to be over 60 mph.