York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office video shows waterspout over York River


A lingering weather system over Hampton Roads combined with a southeasterly wind gave just the right conditions for a waterspout to appear over the York River on Sunday.

In a video taken by York Poquoson Sheriff’s Office deputy Lt. Kris Ward and shared on their Facebook page, a waterspout is shown snaking through the air near Yorktown Beach late Sunday afternoon.

“I noticed some citizens kind of looking and pointing and I saw a couple of them get up and start running with their phones,” Ward said. “I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

The waterspout stayed more than 1,000 feet from the shoreline, Ward said.

“It looked like it was coming our way actually,” Ward said. “Kind of moving our way, it may or may not have been it just appeared that way.”

Then the waterspout took on a corkscrew shape before collapsing in on itself, Ward said, the water in that part of the river was churning around and around.

“I’m thinking the water itself must have still had some kind of funnel coming up out of it, it just wasn’t going high in the air,” Ward said. “Maybe five or 10 feet.”

“It looks pretty small,” National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Butner said. “I’m not surprised.”

Butner said the region should not expect any tornadoes or the like, but weak waterspouts could occur due to the interactions between two weather systems.

“I’ve never seen anything like that in my life,” Ward said. “I’m 42-years-old. That was pretty neat to see.”

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329 or on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

Copyright © 2019, The Virginia Gazette