While most of the Hudson Valley and Tri-State region remains in a substantial drought, some areas saw scattered strong thunderstorms pop up Tuesday afternoon. Hudson Valley Weather reports that some of the storms moved through towns in the upper Hudson Valley and Catskills, bringing gusty winds and brief heavy rains.

But a fairly rare phenomenon was captured on film, just off the coast early afternoon Tuesday that you might have seen.


NBC reports that a waterspout was filmed around 1:20 PM by a passenger on a ferry. A waterspout is a column of rotating air over water. While not usually as strong as tornadoes formed over land, waterspouts can cause damage if they happen to move ashore. While most waterspouts form over the tropical areas of the world, they can pop up just about anywhere, and even form and move over lakes and other bodies of water.

NBC says that the waterspout was spotted between Orient Point, New York and New London, Connecticut. Chief Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan shared the video on his Twitter, as Connecticut took the brunt of Tuesday's severe weather, leading to flooded roads and downed trees across parts of the state.


Tornado vs Waterspout

Back in mid-July, the National Weather Service confused some when what some thought was a waterspout over the Hudson River was actually classified as an EFU tornado. In this case, the U stands for unclassified as the storm did not cause any damage on land.

Waterspout in the Hudson Valley

The video below was shared on the Hudson Valley Weather Facebook of a waterspout that developed over the Hudson River, just southeast of Port Ewen. Both websites such as HVW and the Weather Dork had reported that some of the storms in the Ulster/Dutchess area that afternoon were showing some signs of rotation.

While there was no actual Tornado Warning at the time, the storm appears to have spawned a brief funnel that touched over the river.


How Are Tornadoes Rated?

Tornadoes have been rated since 2007 by something called the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which measures the amount of damage a tornado causes. Before 2007, it was simply known as the Fujita Scale. An EF-0 is the weakest on the scale, while an EF-5 is the strongest.

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The most powerful tornadoes can produce winds in excess of 300 MPH and have been known to sweep foundations completely clean while tossing multi-ton structures tens of thousands of feet into the air. While many of the tornadoes that have struck New York state are generally on the weaker end of the scale, could a large tornado strike and do major damage? Some of it depends on location.

KEEP READING: What to do after a tornado strikes