VIDEO: 'It was a big one': massive waterspout touches down near Qualicum

By Ian Holmes
July 20, 2017 - 11:48am Updated: July 21, 2017 - 6:14am

Sigmund Sort

PARKSVILLE — A large and powerful waterspout churned up the ocean off Lasqueti Island Thursday morning.

It was captured on video by Qualicum Beach resident Sigmund Sort, whose curiosity was piqued by a “monster sized cloud.” He began filming after seeing the waterspout from his waterfront home.

“As that finger came out of the cloud I knew what was developing, but I didn't know how big it would eventually become,” Sort said. “I was lucky to capture it with a camera.”


A twister growing rapidly by Lasqueti Island! Crazy!

A post shared by Sigmund Bering Sort (@sigmundsort) on Jul 20, 2017 at 9:21am PDT

Sort, a pilot by trade, estimated the waterspout was in contact with the ocean off the west end of Lasqueti near Jenkins Island for about 10 minutes.

“The estimated girth of it I'd have to say a quarter-to-a-half-mile away given my proximity to Lasqueti Island which is about nine miles away.”

Sort alerted the Comox Air Force Base to have the aviation community warned about the large, twisting spout.

Sort, who has lived in the Oceanside region for more than 40 years, has noticed several much smaller waterspouts locally before, but nothing even close to what he saw Thursday morning.

“When it made contact you got all kinds of water and mist at the base and it creates that classic tornado image over water.”

Environment Canada meteorologist Alyssa Charboneau said a waterspout watch is in effect for the Strait of Georgia north of Nanaimo. She said Sort's video is striking because of how large the spout was.

“Definitely one of the more impressive looking waterspouts that I've seen recently,” Charboneau told NanaimoNewsNOW.

She said a strong thunderstorm above the Strait generated the necessary energy to form the system.

“That allowed an updraft to develop and the rotation to develop in the cloud that was strong enough to produce a waterspout like this."

She said while waterspouts aren't known to cause the same damage that tornadoes do, they do pose a public safety risk.

“The winds near the water could be very strong and certainly are a concern for anybody out on the water.”


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