Waterspout tornadoes fall into two categories: fair weather waterspouts and tornadic waterspouts. Tornadic waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water, or move from land to water. They have the same characteristics as a land tornado, are associated with severe thunderstorms, and are often accompanied by high winds and seas, large hail, and frequent dangerous lightning. Fair weather waterspouts usually form along the dark flat base of a line of developing cumulus clouds. This type of waterspout is generally not associated with thunderstorms.
To help your little one grasp the idea of the waterspout tornado, we created our very own at the water table. Using pre-made funnels, constructed of paper and plastic bags, we produced whirlpools, watching with glee as our “tornadoes” sloshed the water around the water table, sucking up fish and other debris. This activity enabled your little one to explore the physical properties of water: density, volume, polarity, and cause and effect. Young children are naturally curious. To help foster their understanding of how the world works, it is essential that they learn about the various weather patterns that exist, and the interactions between them. This activity also cultivated their observation skills.