Rare waterspout touches down near Everett

Rare waterspout touches down near Everett
Photo of waterspout off Hat Island taken on Oct. 20, 2012.
HAT ISLAND, Wash. - A rare waterspout touched down Saturday afternoon in the waters off Everett, much to the surprise of astonished onlookers.

The spinning funnel was ushered in by an unsettled weather pattern that also sparked thunder, lightning and hail across parts of the Puget Sound region throughout the day.

Witnesses said the waterspout touched down between 4 and 4:10 p.m. in the waters of Possession Sound, near Hat Island, between Everett and south Whidbey Island.

It was spotted by many people, who said it appeared to touch down at least twice - but never reached land before fizzling out. Some of the photos suggested a second funnel cloud was forming simultaneously but it didn't reach the ground.

The funnel cloud was accompanied by heavy rain and thick clouds.

Elsewhere in the Puget Sound region on Saturday, hail, lightning and thunder were reported in Black Diamond, south King County and parts of Snohomish County.

A waterspout is simply a tornado that touches down over water. The state of Washington averages about one or two tornadoes/waterspouts a year.



And here is another video of the day -- two time lapse cameras courtesy of SkunkBayWeather.com. The first half is of the camera pointing north from Hansville. Second is pointing East/Northeast. The second camera just barely missed the waterspout at 4pm but you can see some of the rotation aftermath and a few funnel clouds.

But despite not seeing the actual waterspout, you can get a sense for the amount of wind shear Saturday -- note the multiple directions the clouds flow through the day: