Are waterspouts miniature tornadoes, and can they cause as much damage?
A waterspout is a tornado that occurs at sea or over inland water. The funnel-shaped column is formed at the base of a cumulus-type cloud and extends down to the water’s surface, where it picks up spray. Waterspouts are most common in tropical regions, but they are not uncommon at higher latitudes. They may cause minor damage, but this damage cannot compare with that of a tornado.