Striking images captured by several people on their smartphones show a sea tornado hitting a beach full of bathers, maybe too busy looking at it to get away in time.
It happened on a Brazilian beach but similar phenomena are found in many other places all around the world, including Europe. What causes such violent yet short-lasting phenomena? In short, a contrast between warm sea air and cold outflow from rainy cumulous clouds. Waterspouts are similar to tornadoes; however, since air is warmer, and therefore stronger, than land, a waterspout can form from either an ordinary cumulus cloud or it can form from a simple thunderstorm.