The National Weather Service has confirmed that a waterspout formed over the Barnegat Bay off Long Beach Island shortly before 7:00 p.m. Tuesday.
Classifying it as “weak,” the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly storm report concluded that a video of the incident, which has since gone viral, captured “rotation and a distinct path of agitated water after its passage” in the bay off Brant Beach.
According to wikipedia.org, a waterspout is “an intense columnar vortex (usually appearing as a funnel-shaped cloud) that occurs over a body of water.”
Based on the video, while it appears that the “circulation remained over the water,” the report found, “the outer strong winds did blow out the front windows of Island Surf and Sail, along with some scattered debris picked up.”
During that same thunderstorm line, JSHN contributor Lisa Schlags Lardner captured video of what appeared to be cloud circulation over the Atlantic Ocean.
After viewing the footage, Szatkowski identified the activity as a “gustnado.”
“Air really does want to swirl sometimes on very strong gust fronts,” he said. “It doesn’t qualify as a tornado or waterspout. Too brief.”
According to accuweather.com, a gustnado is “a short-lived, ground-based swirling wind that can form on the leading edge of a severe thunderstorm. Although the name comes from ‘gust front of a tornado,’ and a gustnado almost looks like a tornado, it is not considered to be one.”