PHOTOS: Waterspout Reported on Maui

January 14, 2014, 5:32 PM HST · Updated January 15, 6:45 AM
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A waterspout was sighted off Sugar Beach, Kihei at 2 p.m. Photo courtesy Tia Hanchett.

A waterspout was sighted off Sugar Beach, Kīhei at 2 p.m. Photo courtesy Tia H.

By Wendy Osher

Maui Now received reports of a waterspout seen at around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14, in waters off of Maui.

The National Weather Service issued a preliminary local storm report noting that broadcast media reported a water spout in the Kīhei area of Maui at 1:50 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, at the following coordinates: 20.76N 156.45W.

In addition to a photo sent in from the Sugar Beach area of South Maui taken at around 2 p.m., Captain Drew Sulock with the Pacific Whale Foundation also sent in a photo taken at 1:25 p.m. from McGregor Point along the West Maui shoreline.

Water Spout seen off shore from McGegor Point: Photo by Captain Drew Sulock of the Pacific Whale Foundation, Maui.

Waterspout seen off shore from McGregor Point at 1:25 p.m. The vessel pictured is The Ocean Intrigue. Photo by Captain Drew Sulock of the Pacific Whale Foundation, Maui.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service defines a waterspout with the following description:

“In general, a tornado occurring over water. Specifically, it normally refers to a small, relatively weak rotating column of air over water beneath a Cb or towering cumulus cloud. Waterspouts are most common over tropical or subtropical waters.

The exact definition of waterspout is debatable. In most cases the term is reserved for small vortices over water that are not associated with storm-scale rotation (i.e., they are the water-based equivalent of landspouts). But there is sufficient justification for calling virtually any rotating column of air a waterspout if it is in contact with a water surface.”

Earlier today, the National Weather Service issued a forecast calling for “a humid southwesterly flow” throughout the state and “spotty showers” through Thursday.

The forecast said the front was expected to dissipate as it passes over the western end of the state, “ushering in a period of gentle to moderate trade winds,” on Thursday and Friday.

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