A watersprout has hit Lake Bunyonyi in the South Western district of Kabale on Monday leaving residents stunned by the rare occurrence.
Numerous videos captured by surprised onlookers showed a funnel-like shaped whirlwind which formed a vortex from the thick cloud over Lake Bunyonyi to the waters close to Harutinda landing site.
Residents who witnessed the rare phenomenon could be heard screaming loudly at the waterspout known in the local Rukiga language as ‘eshata’. Traditionally, the natives believed that when you scream at it, you scare it away and avert the likely damage.
A waterspout falls under the categories of tornadoes. Some are connected to a cumulus congestus cloud, some to a cumuliform cloud and some to a cumulonimbus cloud. In the common form, it is a non-supercell tornado over water.
Unlike the other categories which occur on land and are more disastrous in nature, waterspouts are often weaker and do not suck up water. Eye witnesses said the visible white coloured funnel from the water surface to the overhead cloud appeared at about 6pm on Monday.
Moses Banyenzaki who owns an engine canoe at Harutinda Landing Site told URN that the incident was preceded by a heavy downpour characterized by lightning and thunderstorms at around 4 p.m.
Banyenzaki said that the situation forced all the canoes which had been docked at Harutinda to float adding that even though it sent residents into a panic, it did not cause any damage.
At the point where the cloud contacted the water suface, a circular, light-colored disk appeared with spiraling movements. This lasted for slightly over 2 minutes before the cloud gradually reduced in thickness and finally got detached from the water surface.
Waterspouts are almost always produced by a swiftly growing cumulus cloud. They may assume many shapes and often occur in a series, called a waterspout family, produced by the same upward-moving air current.