Several waterspouts have been spotted along the south Canterbury coastline this morning.

Andrew Beazley and his wife had been walking their dog on South Beach, Timaru, at 8am on Saturday morning when they spotted the waterspouts.

He told 1News they typically went down to the beach a few times a week, but “it’s the first time I’ve seen anything like that off the coast.”

The spouts were about “two [or] three kilometres” off the coast, he said.

“They remained in the same spot … the clouds weren’t moving.

“One [spout] had collapsed and another had fallen a couple of times.”

Beazley said he and his wife remained at the beach for about half an hour watching the waterspouts.

Warmer than average sea surface temperatures over the South Canterbury Bight paired with converging winds made conditions conducive to waterspout formation, said MetService meteorologist Dan Corrigan.

Updrafts produced by converging winds allowed the thunderstorm to “last longer” and be “more intense” than it otherwise would, with this increased intensity producing waterspouts.

“Waterspouts occur when you get rotation happening around the bottom of the cloud, and if the conditions are right, a funnel cloud can form and touch down to the surface of the water,” he said.

Corrigan said that reports indicated several waterspouts forming over the course of a couple of hours.

“They would kind of form out of the base of the cloud and then touch down onto the water surface, and then a couple of minutes later it would dissipate and then another one would start to form.”

Additional reporting by Jess Rayner

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