UPDATE: A WATERSPOUT off the Bognor Regis area coastline was captured by several Observer readers.
The twister was seen around 7pm yesterday (Sunday, June 29) at various points along the seafront such as the West Park boat pound in Aldwick and Pagham.
Those who submitted photographs of the weather feature included Darrel Burch, Ian Cook, Iain Garrett and Phil Baldwin.
Dan Williams, a spokesman for the Met Office, said: “We get quite a few waterspouts in a year.
“They are defined as a tunnel-shaped cloud which touches down over the sea, whereas a tornado is one which touches down on land.
“There is no regularity in tornadoes but we would reckon to get about 30 sightings a year.
“There is no record of how many waterspouts there are. They may be possibly more but it depends on how many are seen. I imagine a lot probably go unseen.”
Waterspouts are formed in a turbulent area of weather with up and down draughts close to a rain cloud. They are caused by warm temperatures in the lower atmosphere and high humidity.
The updraught becomes horizontal and extends downwards to suck up air to keep itself invigorated.
Eventually, the downdraught which inevitably accompanies rain will snuff out the waterspout.
“In the UK, the waterspouts and tornadoes we have are nothing like the ones they get in America.
“They are pretty weak efforts and don’t have much impact,” said Mr Williams. “But they do look spectacular. There is no evidence they are getting more or less common.”