SINGAPORE - A waterspout extending to the clouds was seen off Singapore's shores on Sunday (June 18) morning.
Ms Kiran Grewal told The Straits Times that she spotted it at about 9am, just before a morning storm began.
Her photos, taken from Boon Keng, show an ominous bank of clouds, with the water spout extending from it to the sea.
"Looks like the funnel is just off the shores of Batam," she added.
The weather phenomenon could be observed from as far away as Sengkang, according to another ST reader who took photos of it from Anchorvale Road.
According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), waterspouts are short-lived weather phenomenon occasionally seen over the coastal waters of Singapore.
They typically form beneath cumulus or cumulonimbus clouds over warm coastal waters just before showers begin.
The "funnel" is formed by water droplets in a rotating vortex of air, according to the NEA website.
While they are not as powerful and destructive as tornadoes, waterspouts can pose a danger to small boats in the vicinity, but will weaken and dissipate as they near the shore.
They usually come with storms, so lightning and strong winds can be expected. An average of three waterspouts a year have been reported yearly.
A spokesman for the Meteorological Service Singapore told The Straits Times on Monday (June 19) that the waterspout seen at 9.10am on Sunday was "a rotating column of wind associated with an intense thunderstorm that was developing over the sea areas south-east of Singapore".
"Based on observation reports, waterspouts tend to occur over the larger extent of waters south of Singapore," said the spokesman. "As waterspouts can produce wind gusts of up to 80 kmh, they could pose some risk to people conducting water sports or water activities as well as small vessels."
The Straits Times last reported a sighting in August last year, but reports of waterspouts have appeared in local newspapers as far back as 1908.