Rwanda: Weatherman Explains Waterspout Phenomenon in Lake Ruhondo

Rwanda Meteorology Agency has explained the waterspout, a weather phenomenon locally known as "Isata", which was experienced on April 13, in Lake Ruhondo, saying it was caused by weather patterns in Burera district.

Waterspout is a rotating column (typically cylindrical) of air and cloud of tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere formed by a whirlwind occurring over a body of water.

A statement issued by Meteo Agency explains that "Isata", the violent wind in a funnel-shaped cloud blew towards the sky due to differences between temperature from the lake and that of the clouds over the lake.

The cloud usually produces rain, thunder and lightning, it says.

"The weather phenomenon occurs when cold air moves across the lakes and results in large temperature differences between warm water and the overriding cold air," the weatherman explained.

Waterspouts, the agency explained, tend to last from two to twenty minutes and move along at speeds of 10 to 15 knots.

One knot speed means 1.852 km per hour.

Waterspout and landspout

According to the explanation, a landspout is a violent rotating wind known as 'Tornado' formed on soils in a funnel shape with speeds that usually destroys properties.

Waterspouts are similar to landspouts, except they occur over water.

Some waterspouts can be just as dangerous as tornadoes which happen on soils and are called tornadic waterspouts.

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