Waterspout Whips Across the Adriatic Sea

ADVERTISEMENT


Image: Mladen Duka

The atmosphere crackles with electricity, the air is close, and in the distance a towering column of rotating air and water approaches. Such a sight might be enough to scare the wits out of some people, but for Mladen Duka, the photographer who took these awe-inspiring photos, the thrill of the situation overcame any fear. Just. A fast retreat was still in order. “Who could think that an ordinary morning walk from Bol to Murvica, two small villages on island of Brach, Croatia, would be so exciting?” he wonders.

Exciting indeed! Many people go their entire lives without ever witnessing a waterspout – one of nature’s most spectacular weather phenomena. Even fewer individuals manage to capture a photo of what they saw. Fortunately for us, Mladen Duka photographed an entire sequence of a waterspout’s impressive yet ominous advance over the Adriatic Sea.


Image: Mladen Duka

Here, we see the waterspout while it is still some distance away. It curves down from the mass of clouds overhead like a giant elephant’s trunk reaching into the water for a drink. It was a sight Duka and his walking companion certainly weren’t expecting to see that day.

“It was August 4, 2006 and the waterspout appeared between [the] islands of Hvar and Brach, just in front of Murvica beach,” Duka explains. “It was fascinating: she [the tornado] was there in front of me and my friend, connecting the sea and the clouds.”

ADVERTISEMENT


Image: Mladen Duka

It’s not unusual for waterspouts to be accompanied by thunder and lightning – forks of which spectacularly accompanied this particular weather event, beautifully shown in the first image of the sequence. That said, this photo suggests that it wasn’t actually a particularly stormy day. The trees don’t seem to be being blown about much by wind, and the sea, although a little choppy, still looks relatively smooth. The sky even looks a little bit blue on the horizon!

Waterspouts can be classified as either ‘fair weather’ or ‘tornadic’, depending largely on the weather conditions in which they arise. Fair weather waterspouts can materialize on sunny, calm days and don’t tend to move around all that much. The more violent – and dangerous – tornadic waterspouts invariably appear in the midst of serious thunderstorms.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT