A waterspout triggered a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for portions of southern New Jersey earlier today, and the entire event was captured on camera by Mike & Buck Rothman.
The waterspout was seen crossing Delaware Bay on Sunday, July 23. This video was taken from the Bonanza II, a fishing and party boat docked at Fortescue State Marina in Fortescue, New Jersey.
According to the National Weather Service, waterspouts fall into two categories: fair weather waterspouts and tornadic waterspouts.
Tornadic waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water, or move from land to water. They have the same characteristics as a land tornado. They are associated with severe thunderstorms, and are often accompanied by high winds and seas, large hail, and frequent dangerous lightning.
Fair weather waterspouts usually form along the dark flat base of a line of developing cumulus clouds. This type of waterspout is generally not associated with thunderstorms. While tornadic waterspouts develop downward in a thunderstorm, a fair weather waterspout develops on the surface of the water and works its way upward. By the time the funnel is visible, a fair weather waterspout is near maturity. Fair weather waterspouts form in light wind conditions so they normally move very little.
If a waterspout moves onshore, the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, as some of them can cause significant damage and injuries to people. Typically, fair weather waterspouts dissipate rapidly when they make landfall, and rarely penetrate far inland.
In the case of the storm over the Fortescue area, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued for the cell as it tracked over southern New Jersey. Numerous Severe Thunderstorm Warnings have been issued for New Jersey and elsewhere in the eastern United States for severe storms today
According to their website, the Bonanza II is a 65′ long 20′ wide head boat powered by twin Volvo diesel engines with a combined power of 800hp. The large fishing/party boat features “clean facilities for both men and women and a spacious, enclosed cabin with comfortable cushions”, according to their website. “There is plenty of room to walk around on deck while fishing….Maximum capacity is 67 people but we try to hold that number to below 40 while fishing to avoid crowding.”