Rare weather phenomenon observed off Balochistan coast
KARACHI: A spectacular fair-weather waterspout, a rare phenomenon, has been observed off the Balochistan coast, the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P) said on Wednesday.
According to the WWF-P, a fisherman who has been part of the organisation’s training programmes reported the waterspout near Sakoni, off Kalmat Khor, in Balochistan.
“There was a large patch of cloud over a clear sky on Feb 28. The waterspout could be seen descending,” WWF-P quoted the fisherman, Mahar Gul, as saying.
Gul, who hails from Lower Dir, and his colleagues were looking for tuna about 25 nautical miles from the coastline.
“He (Gul) had observed a similar phenomenon two decades ago near Jiwani, Balochistan. This time, he recorded it on his mobile phone, but avoided coming close to the vortex as it could be dangerous,” said WWF-P technical adviser on marine fisheries, Mohammad Moazzam Khan.
The waterspout, unlike what its name suggests, is not filled with water but is a column of cloud-filled wind rotating over the ocean’s surface. Mr Khan explained that it descends from a cumulus cloud and the water inside is formed by condensation in the cloud.
“There are two types of the phenomenon: tornadic waterspout and fair-weather waterspout. The former, associated with severe thunderstorms, is the most powerful and destructive waterspout.”
According to him, waterspouts are most common in tropical and subtropical waters but there is no authentic record of their occurrence on the Pakistan coast.
“The average spout is around 50 metres in diameter, with a wind speed of 80 kilometres an hour. Most waterspouts last up to an hour, though their average duration is just five to 10 minutes,” he said.
A natural phenomenon of rare occurrence, waterspouts can be beautiful but dangerous as they have been known to overturn boats, damage large ships and put lives in jeopardy, he said.