At 11:30 this morning Environment Canada issued a Waterspout Watch for the North end of the west coast of Vancouver Island after the Coast Guard spotted a waterspout 11 kilometers south of Cape Scott. Forecasters are warning mariners who may be in the area to be on alert over the next several hours as conditions are favourable for waterspouts until about 2:30 this afternoon.

If you’re not familiar with the weather phenomenon, a waterspout is a rotating column of vapour and water which extends from thundercloud to the water's surface. It looks like a tornado but it is much smaller and weaker. Waterspouts can last up to 10 minutes and range in diameter from seven to 20 meters. Winds are typically between 40 and 80 kilometers per hour. That’s strong enough to flip a boat!

Waterspouts are most common during cool, unsettled weather and typically form over Canada’s major lakes, however sometimes they form around Vancouver Island when conditions are just right.

If you snap a picture of a waterspout, send it to I’d love to see it!