Waterspout whips up frenzy on Pattaya Beach

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Jet skis and boat operators headed for shore when this monster waterspout showed up in Pattaya Bay on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 26.  Waterspouts are usually weaker than their land-based cousins, the tornado, but can be dangerous nonetheless. 

Sun worshippers and beach vendors whipped themselves into a panic when a tornado appeared in Pattaya Bay, swirling wind and water about 400 meters in the air, but causing no serious damage.

Hardly uncommon to Pattaya, waterspouts are tornado-like vortexes connecting a body of water with a cumuliform cloud. Somewhat weaker than land-based tornados, waterspouts do not suck up water. The water seen in the main funnel cloud is actually droplets formed by condensation.

Jet skis and boat operators headed for shore when this monster waterspout showed up in Pattaya Bay on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 26.  Waterspouts are usually weaker than their land-based cousins, the tornado, but can be dangerous nonetheless. Jet skis and boat operators headed for shore when this monster waterspout showed up in Pattaya Bay on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 26.  Waterspouts are usually weaker than their land-based cousins, the tornado, but can be dangerous nonetheless.

Waterspouts have a five-part life cycle: formation of a dark spot on the water’s surface, a spiral pattern on the surface, formation of a spray ring, development of the visible condensation funnel, and, ultimately, decay.

Waterspouts can be dangerous, however, and it is advised that boaters steer clear of them.

Waterspouts can be dangerous and it is advised that boaters steer clear of them. Waterspouts can be dangerous and it is advised that boaters steer clear of them.

Beachgoers, afraid the swirling cloud would come ashore, quickly gathered up belongings and fled the sand. Jet ski and boat operators also returned to shore.

As quickly as it appeared, the vortex disappeared. Many Thais gave thanks to the Prince Chumphon statue at the Pattaya Police Station, believing the legendary “father of the Thai navy” had saved them.