Twister-like waterspout spotted off UAE coast

The whirling column of air and water fascinates onlookers

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A waterspout fascinated onlookers when it was spotted off the coast of the Emirates.

The marine phenomenon - which resembles a small tornado - was captured by an Emirati firefighter on Tuesday.

The whirling column of air and water was seen just off Ghalilah, a town in Ras Al Khaimah near the Musandam border.

It was a very special moment and I was lucky enough to be able to document it

A waterspout is an intense columnar vortex that occurs over water and usually under a rain cloud. It quickly dissipates when it arrives on dry land.

Rashid Al Shehhi was driving out of his house in Ghalilah when he spotted the waterspout at 1.15pm.

“I immediately took out my Nikon P900 camera and started taking photos and videos of the twister,” said civil defence officer Mr Al Shehhi, 33.

“The twister appeared to be coming down from a grey cloud into the water. It was a very special moment and I was lucky enough to be able to document it."

It lasted no longer than a few minutes before dissipating, he said.

“After I took some the photos and videos of the twister, I started driving towards the waterfront to take some close-ups but it was already fading away."

Although relatively rare, Mr Al Shehhi said that it was not his first encounter. He saw a funnel cloud - which can become a tornado if it touches land - last year.

“I saw one in the desert near Al Qudra area and a few more over the water in RAK,” he said.

“I have a passion for photography, it is my favourite hobby and I always carry my camera with me wherever I go."

More rain is expected on Tuesday and Wednesday, particularly over Dubai and the Northern Emirates, as a weather front travels down the Gulf from Kuwait.