Video: Cold Front Spawns Waterspout

November 20, 2012; 6:27 AM ET
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Australian Waterspout

A waterspout struck Batemans Bay, Australia, on Sunday, Nov. 18. Batemans Bay is south of Sydney in New South Wales.

Storified by Accu Weather · Mon, Nov 19 2012 09:51:00

Waterspout at Batemans Baythegrazla
A waterspout struck Batemans Bay, Australia, on Sunday, Nov. 18. Batemans Bay is south of Sydney in New South Wales. According to the Bureau of Meteorology website, winds at Moruya, about 10 miles south of Batemans Bay, winds shifted abruptly from northerly to southerly around 4 p.m. on Sunday. "This was the cold front," AccuWeather meteorologist Jim Andrews said, "a possible trigger for the waterspout. There was also a burst of rain around 2 p.m., likely a thunderstorm." 

"Waterspouts are essentially weak, short-lived tornadoes over water," Meteorologist Henry Margusity said. "However, they do not need an intense thunderstorm to form. In fact, most form in an entirely different manner, compared to tornadoes."

With waterspouts, the flow of cool air into the zone of warm, moist, rising air over a body of water can cause small areas of rotation. As these swirls rise and tighten, a waterspout can form. The visible funnel is mostly caused by the condensation of the moisture due to the low pressure within the storm and not so much by surface water being drawn upward. While mostly a threat to small craft, occasionally they can wander onshore before dissipating, causing minor property damage. They often have the strength equivalent of an EF0 tornado.

Weather maps from Sunday show a low pressure trough along the east coast and Great Dividing Range. A cold front was advancing northeastward over New South Wales, including the twister site.

According to the ABC, there was severe weather elsewhere in eastern Australia Sunday. Namely, the Brisbane area of southeastern Queensland was struck by damaging hailstorms. There was also flooding rain, damaging wind and lightning-sparked fires. The Darling Downs and Granite Belt, elsewhere in Queensland, also suffered hail damage to crops.
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