High winds bring spectacular waterspouts on both sides of Finnish gulf

Fully- and partly-formed waterspouts snapped off the Finnish archipelago on Monday.
Fully- and partly-formed waterspouts snapped off the Finnish archipelago on Monday. Source: Merivartiosto - LSMV / Social Media

Spectacular waterspouts have been snapped on both sides of the Gulf of Finland during the stormy conditions of recent days.

Over the weekend, Madis Rehepapp, who is a member of the sea rescue association on the Estonian island of Muhu, spotted and photographed a waterspout at sea as he sat on his terrace at home, regional, Postimees-owned daily Saarte Hääl reports (link in Estonian). The phenomenon lasted 10 to 15 minutes, he said.

Meanwhile one person who was on the sea during the rough conditions over the weekend said that they had not experienced anything like it.

Enn Meri, who was sailing his yacht on the Väinamere, the straits that separate the western archipelago from the mainland, between Kuresaare, the capital of Saaremaa, and the town of Haapsalu, told Saarte Hääl that he had: "Never experienced a storm of this kind while at sea. The strong winds lasted for about half an hour."

Meanwhile off the adjacent coast of Finland, as many as seven simultaneous waterspouts were observed Monday (see cover image), that country's coastguard said, as reported by public broadcaster Yle.

Effectively tornadoes over bodies of water, waterspouts require high winds of at least 18 m/s to form, with spiraling gusts merging water droplets from clouds and, as the waterspout nears the surface of a body of water, that water also – in this case seawater.

While not unheard of in the region – a single waterspout was spotted off the Finnish coast in 2019 – an agglomeration of spouts is highly unusual.

Estonia's State Weather Service (Riigi ilmateenistus) issued a level one (yellow) storm warning Tuesday, with high winds, heavy rain and possible hail and thunder storms forecast - early on this month weather warnings had, by contrast, concerned heatwave conditions.

A tornado was reported, in the same region of Estonia - this time over land, on Saaremaa - almost exactly a decade ago.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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