Gary Grunseich has owned the Silly Lily Fishing Station in East Moriches for what seems like forever. And until Friday morning he had never seen a waterspout from offshore.
"I'm here 35 years, every day, and I've never seen one before," Grunseich, 63, said Friday about an hour after snapping some photographs of a group of waterspouts just on the ocean side of Moriches Bay, a mile or so offshore from Cupsogue Beach County Park in Westhampton Beach.
Grunseich and a friend, Dave Roys of Shirley, were drinking coffee at about 7:30 a.m. when they saw the spouts, "whirling columns of air and water mist," as defined by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
"There looked to be three or four of them, going west to east, and definitely on the ocean side," he said.
Tim Morrin, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Upton office, said the waterspout siting came just before the service issued a marine warning about high winds, with gusts up to 50 knots, capable of producing waterspouts.
Morrin said his team was reviewing video and still photos of the spouts.
He said they're not that rare, and sightings are common every other year or so.
"There was just enough instability meteorologically to produce spouts," Morrin said. "You had a passing cold front and instability in the atmosphere."
For Grunseich, however, it was still a neat experience. "They were there for about 20 minutes and got smaller as they moved away. Pretty cool."