Tanjong Pagar ‘Tornado’ Waterspout Caused By Intense Tropical Storms, Not Aquaman Having A Fit

Tanjong Pagar ‘Tornado’ Waterspout Was A Result Of Severe Thunderstorms In May

May has been the month of crazy weather indeed.

First we were told to brace ourselves for scorching 35°C temperatures & thundery but humid storms in early May.

Then Thor made his presence felt in Singapore with a rumbling 2am thunderstorm on 8 May.


Just 3 days later, a ‘tornado’ was seen off our coast near Tanjong Pagar Terminal, leaving many Singaporeans scared as they were unable to identify what it was.


Turns out, it was just a waterspout caused by intense tropical thunderstorms.

Massive waterspout causes stir on social media

Social media was saturated with viral clips of the massive waterspout moving across the sea.


Some photographers also managed to get closer shots of the phenomenon — a rare occurrence in Singapore.


The waterspout came “dangerously close to boats in Singapore”, according to this caption by Al Jazeera of a photo by Reuters photographer Mathieu Sneep.


And Facebook user Takumi Shibata managed to capture the waterspout subsiding into a tiny wisp of water.

Waterspouts explained

A waterspout is defined as,

A whirling column of air and water mist.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in US, that is.

Tornadic waterspouts – or what Singapore experienced – are formed over water and have the same “characteristics as a land tornado”.

Taken in Clementi

They are “associated with severe thunderstorms” and in severe cases, result in strong winds, hailstorms and extremely frequent lightning.

The best way to avoid a waterspout – assuming you do encounter one while you’re at sea – is to “move at a 90° angle” or perpendicular to where it’s headed.

In Singlish, that means “See water tornado, faster siam.”

Please do not move closer to investigate the phenomenon, as they can be “as dangerous as tornadoes”.

Not Thor vs Aquaman

So don’t worry, Thor wasn’t challenging Aquaman to a fight because Marvel versus DC. Mother Nature was just celebrating Mother’s Day in her own incredible way.


Although the explanation for this weather phenomenon isn’t as exciting as a superhero duel, we’d like to hear about other bizarre weather occurrences from you.

What other crazy weather has Singapore experienced in recent years besides this waterspout & hail that dropped like grapes?

Featured image from Weather/Meteo World on Facebook and Deviant Art.

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