Tornadoes just off Sydney coast

alien

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Jul 10, 2009
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Hey can anyone near the coast see these things?

<big>Waterspouts lurk off NSW coast</big>

Severe thunderstorms are lurking off the NSW coast, prompting warnings of high winds potentially causing localised damage in Sydney, the Hunter and Illawarra regions later on Monday.

The Bureau of Meteorology said at 1pm (AEST) that the storms were hovering out at sea but could cause damage to coastal areas if they swept west.

The storms are currently tracking north.

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But waterspouts, described as tornadoes over water, have already been reported near Sydney and have the potential to cause localised coastal damage, the bureau added.

Bureau meteorologist Jane Golding told AAP she could see the waterspouts from her office in Sydney.

Waterspouts form when high layers of cool air blow across the ocean, while warm moist air sweeps up from below. They appear as thin columns which suck up water over mushroom-shaped water sprays.

Wind speeds associated with them can reach 90km/h an hour.

"They happen almost every year, but sometimes they are too far off the coast to be spotted on land," meteorologist Brett Dutschke of The Weather Company told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"But today there have been several seen close to the coast."

Mr Dutschke said that although the waterspouts look like tornadoes, they are not nearly as destructive - though they have been known to sink boats.

The natural phenomenon is expected to continue along the eastern coast of Sydney as the day draws to a close.

The State Emergency Service has advised people to move cars away from trees and to stay indoors if the storms move inland.

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