SINGAPORE: Some residents were startled by what they thought was a tornado near Tanjong Pagar Terminal on Saturday morning (May 11).
The "tornado" was in fact a waterspout, which is caused by intense thunderstorms, and is formed when columns of water are sucked to the base of the clouds.
Some social media users took videos and photos of the sight and posted them online.
Ms Grace Ng, a resident at the 76 Shenton condominium, said she spotted the waterspout at around 9am.
"The waterspout was very weak at first, and it kept disappearing and reappearing. But it came closer and then it grew larger. So we managed to take a good shot when the sky was very clear," she said.
The waterspout weakened when it reached the coast, and disappeared a few minutes after that, she added.
The whole thing lasted about 15 to 20 minutes, Ms Ng said, adding that it started to rain heavily after the waterspout disappeared.
Mr David Johnson and his wife Ms Teri Caldwell saw the waterspout from their home at Newton GEMS at around 8.45am. There were dark clouds but no strong winds or rain at the time, Mr Johnson said.
"It didn't last very long, maybe 10 minutes at most," he said.
Around 30 minutes after he saw the waterspout, it started raining, he added.
The National Environment Agency said previously that around three occurrences of waterspouts over Singapore waters are reported every year.
Waterspouts tend to have a short life cycle of up to tens of minutes and they usually dissipate rapidly upon reaching the coast, it said.
It also noted waterspouts are generally associated with intense thunderstorms over the sea.
However, it is difficult to forecast the occurrence of waterspouts because not all thunderstorms lead to the formation of waterspouts.
In January last year, a waterspout off the east coast of Singapore caused strong winds and sent boats and rubbish bins flying at East Coast Park.