Water spout spotted off Sheringham

Readers have sent in these photographs of a water spout which formed offshore at Sheringham this morning.

Residents Karen Burton and her husband Clint were pushing baby daughter Maya along the east end of the town's promenade when they spotted the phenomenon at about 11.15am.

'By the time I got my camera out it had lost a lot of its strength,' said Mrs Burton, 31.

'The sky was very dark and stormy to the left of it and very black to the right of it but it was really easy to see because there was light behind it and you could see the water being drawn up into it.'

Brian Farrow, coast protection engineer with North Norfolk District Council, also saw and photographed the spout.

'I would say it was about three to five miles offshore. It lasted about one to two minutes, but I don't know how long it had been going before I saw it,' said Mr Farrow.

'When I first saw it the bottom was almost as black as the top. It was as if a giant asteroid had dropped in the sea and, in the middle of the sea, a funnel was going up.'

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John Law, of Weatherquest, based in the school of environmental sciences at UEA, said there had been a succession of deep showers running across the north-east corner of Norfolk this morning and the conditions made the formation of water spouts 'quite plausible.'

They were not uncommon in the county, according to Mr Laws. One had been reported during the Lowestoft Airshow this summer, forming on land and then moving out to sea.