A Sydney woman could hardly believe her eyes when she spotted a spinning column moving across the sea.

Kasia Kapusta, 43, spotted the so-called waterspout off the coast at Maroubra Beach on Tuesday morning.

"It looked incredible," she said.

"I've been living in Maroubra for five years and I've never seen anything like it."

Waterspouts are a form of wind vortexes that form over water, scooping up the liquid and dragging it towards the sky.

A waterspout formed off Maroubra Beach on Tuesday. Picture by Kasia Kapusta via NCA NewsWire.
A waterspout formed off Maroubra Beach on Tuesday. Picture by Kasia Kapusta via NCA NewsWire.

The one Ms Kapusta saw formed around 10.40am as dark and heavy rain clouds were rolling in towards the beach.

"It's a bit like a straw sucking up the water," a Bureau of Meteorology spokesman explained.

He said one of his colleagues had spotted the same waterspout from nearby Coogee Beach and sent pictures to the Bureau.

Kasia Kapusta, 43, spotted the waterspout at Maroubra Beach.
Kasia Kapusta, 43, spotted the waterspout at Maroubra Beach.

Waterspouts aren't too uncommon, and work in a similar way to "dust devils" or "willy-willys" - spinning sand columns seen in inland Australia.

Both kinds are less intense, and much less dangerous than tornadoes.

"You get increased wind speed so that could cause some concern, but generally they're not too dangerous," the BOM spokesman said.

Ms Kapusta said she wished she could have seen from a closer distance.

"It looked so picturesque and magical, like a miracle," she said.

Originally published as 'Incredible': Twister spotted in Sydney


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