What's A Waterspout?

Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick visited a local school talking all about weather!

Recently I was invited to speak to Mr. Griffith and Ms. Myers 4th and 5th grade classes at Carter Elementary School in Carter County, Kentucky.  They're now big "Ask Josh" weather blog fans.  We talked about the many different wind patterns across the Earth, the different fronts and clouds, hurricanes and tornadoes.  One question I asked the group was what do you call a tornado over water?

After thinking about it for a few seconds, one very smart lady raised her hand and answered "it's a tornado over water!"  Right she was! 

Waterspouts are simply tornadoes over water. But though they have a similar structure to some tornadoes, they form much differently. Waterspouts are common in tropical areas where thundershowers occur frequently, such as around the Florida Keys. But waterspouts also can spin up beneath puffy cumulus clouds without lightning or thunder.  Sometimes as I explained to the students, waterspouts can suck up fish and frogs and rain them back down over land.  Yes, that has happened before!

Waterspout photo: NOAA

Below is a photo of us.  Thanks for inviting me and keep up the great work at Carter Elementary! 

Teacher's, if you would like for me to come and talk to your science class about weather, e-mail me directly at josh.fitzpatrick@wsaz.com  

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