Waterspouts are common in tropical and subtropical waters, however, this is the first time spectators at Sun Moon Lake have witnessed this phenomenon.
A rare scene of a water tornado appeared in Nantou’s Sun Moon Lake on Thursday evening. The slim-looking tornado, known as a waterspout, extended from the lake all the way to the sky. Even though it was not very powerful, its shape was very clear.
The waterspout was spotted by a boatman who was looking towards the mountains. He was quick enough to document the phenomenon on his phone. He says that he has been working here for 10 years and has never seen anything similar.
Meteorologists believe that the waterspout was caused by a cold front that passed through the area. The cold air from the front interacted with the warm air over the lake, creating a strong upward motion that caused the waterspout to form.
A witness described the waterspout as looking like a waterfall coming down from the clouds. Another witness who also saw the waterspout said that she thought it was just a black cloud raining, but soon realized that it was a waterspout. She said she was very lucky to witness this.
Meteorologist Chang Yung-cheng (張永政) says that waterspouts can form when there is strong vertical wind shear and unstable atmospheric conditions. Vertical wind shear is a difference in wind speed and direction between two levels of the atmosphere, and unstable atmospheric conditions occur when the air is warm and moist.
A waterspout like this is a rare sight and can be a reminder of the power of nature.