THREE tornadoes spotted off the coast of Santa Ponsa on tuesday afternoon caused moments of great concern for local residents.
The tornadoes, or tornadic waterspouts to be correct because eye witness reports were inconclusive as to whether they moved in over the land or not, were first spotted and reported to the Bulletin by a number of concerned readers off Santa Ponsa at 3pm. Then more calls were received as the tornadoes moved their way along the coast, just a few kilometres out to sea, past Costa de la Calma, over la Mola, past the Port of Andratx and back out to sea off San Telmo about 15 minutes later. Despite the initial alarm, eye witnesses did report that they made a spectacular sight as thick black storm clouds moved in over the Andratx area and the tornadoes sent huge spouts of water up into the air in their wakes. The local authorities said last night that no damage had been reported which suggested that the tornadoes did not move over land. According to the experts, tornadic waterspouts are, however, usually quite dangerous and are a great threat to shipping and aircraft. Though they mostly occur in the tropics, they can seasonally form in more temperate areas and are associated with developing storm systems - just like the weather front which has been lurking over the Balearics for the past few days. As opposed to tornadoes, tornadic waterspouts, which usually last for no more than three minutes, suck up water as opposed to dust and objects like land tornadoes. Yesterday's phenomenon was quite unusual for the length of time the tornadoes lasted as they moved along the north west coast of Majorca.
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