Photos: Waterspouts spotted off Côte d'Azur

Residents and visitors to Nice witnessed unusual weather phenomenon

Residents and visitors to Nice would have seen not one but two spectacular waterspouts form off the coast at the weekend.

Around 5.20pm on Saturday, the two spouts formed in the Mediterranean close to the shore - and were captured on camera by several people and posted to the internet. But, while they looked dramatic, they posed no danger.

The most common type of spouts are known as 'non-tornadic' or 'fair-weather waterspouts'. They occur in coastal waters under large, dark tower clouds known as convective cumulus towers. These spouts move slowly, generally last no longer than 20 minutes and have maximum windspeeds of less than 70mph.

They occurred at a time when the Alpes-Maritimes department was on orange alert for avalanches and yellow alert for ice and coastal flooding.

The phenomenon - which form when headwinds meet and the difference in air and water temperature is high - is unusual but not rare. Similar spouts were spotted off the Côte d'Azur in November and May 2018.

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