Swim at your own risk.
Situated in the valley of Rwanda’s mountainous Burera district, the gorgeous Lake Ruhondo was recently the site of one of the most enigmatic extreme weather phenomenon — a tornadic waterspout.
A video captured by a local resident on Tuesday managed to catch the waterspout in formation over the blue lake, under an overcast sky of dark clouds.
The nascent tornado first appears as a whirlwind of watery gusts. Soon, a funnel takes shape a short distance from the nearest waterfront homes, approximately 200 feet away.
Schadrack Tuya told Viral Press that he’d been sitting on his balcony when he spotted the emerging vortex and quickly made efforts to warn nearby family and friends.
“I did not want to panic but I still alerted my family members about it just to be sure,” Tuya said.
Mercifully, the cyclone remained on the lake even as it picked up in size and force, dissipating within about 15 minutes.
The waterspout was prompted by a convergence of weather patterns, according to Rwanda’s Meteorology Agency.
“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 agency said in a statement, according to Viral Press.
Waterspouts form for different reasons and are classified in two ways, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The tornadic variety, like those on land, develop down from storm clouds and are usually accompanied by rain, hail or lightning. While they may appear to whip up water into the spinning column, that may be an optical illusion caused by spinning air and clouds. In this case, they may be known to travel from land onto water, or vice versa.
In the US, “fair weather” waterspouts are more common and generally weaker, as they occur even in light wind conditions. Unlike tornadic types, fair-weather spouts develop upwards from the water’s surface towards the base of a developing cumulus cloud system. By the time the funnel has formed, the cyclone is already near its end and disappears quickly.
As with land tornados, the National Weather Service will issue an alert to local residents since some have the capacity for significant destruction.