September 19, 2006
This sinuous waterspout was spotted on the Rappahannock River in Virginia (at the mouth of Urbanna Creek), near where it enters the Chesapeake Bay. A localized dark cloud hung over the water for most of the afternoon, however, the waterspout itself lasted only about 10 minutes from start to finish. It first appeared as a dark finger protruding down from a slowly circulating parent cloud. Within a minute or two it splashed to the surface (click on image for a larger view). No thunder was heard, and neither lightning nor rain was observed. Waterspouts are usually classified as F0 or F1 (weak) tornadoes and typically dissipate upon reaching shore. Photo taken around 3:30 p.m. (local time) on August 18, 2006.