WATCH | Rare waterspout phenomena sprouts end of world fears in Eastern Cape villagers

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  • A rare non-supercell tornado over water known as a waterspout was spotted in a small village of Cofimvaba on Wednesday, causing panic. 
  • The SA Weather Service reassured scared villagers that this is not a sign of the end of the world. 
  • The weather authority says waterspouts are weaker, slow-moving versions of tornadoes. 

Villagers in Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape have been left gobsmacked after recently being treated to a rare sighting of a waterspout weather phenomenon. 

Videos showing a breath-taking whirling column of air and water mist circulating over Ncorha dam at Covimvaba's Nququ Village went viral on social media. 

In one video, villagers can be heard screaming, claiming it was magic or a signal for the end of the world.

Villager Sibusiso Zonke speculated on Facebook saying: "This could be the resurrection of the dead or signs of the return of Jesus. It is clear it will all begin here in Nququ."

READ SA Weather Service explains dramatic storm in East London

Zonke told News24 that villagers were astonished by the rare event which had reportedly not been spotted in Nququ village before now. 

"The community is still in shock and believes this event might be linked to all the deaths that occurred in that dam in the past. This is the dam that merges Nququ and Tsomo rivers," said Zonke.   

But the SA Weather Service dismissed the villagers' theories, saying waterspouts were just like any other weather event. 

SA Weather Service meteorologist Lelo Kleinbooi, who is based in the Gqeberha office, said: 

"A waterspout is defined by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) as follows: It is normally a relatively small, weak rotating column of air over open water below specific types of cumulus clouds."

She added that if this later moved onto land, unlike the waterspout in question, it would be termed a landspout. 

Kleinbooi said waterspouts "usually develop or form below certain types of cumulus clouds (it was a cumulonimbus cloud in the case of Cofimvaba), where winds blowing from different directions meet".

ALSO READ 'Strong suggestions' that a tornado ripped through Mthatha - SA Weather Service

"They are not associated with supercells as it is the case with tornadoes; in fact, water or landspouts are weaker, slow-moving versions of tornadoes."

Kleinbooi said people were advised to avoid waterspouts, as like any other weather phenomena, they do have the potential of causing damage. 

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