Now that's a waterspout!

NEW Zealand social media is abuzz after a waterspout was spotted from the sky this afternoon.

Photos and videos of the waterspout over Arkles Bay have emerged online.

A waterspout is a columnar vortex, appearing as a funnel-shaped cloud, which occurs over a body of water.

MetService severe weather forecaster Heath Gullery confirmed the formation was a waterspout.

"Waterspouts are fairly uncommon," he said.

"They usually form in heavy showers or thunderstorms. In this particular case it was formed in heavy showers."

Waterspouts are formed by the turning of the wind and updraft of wind, he said.

One or two more waterspouts were possible north of Albany this afternoon if the heavy rain continued, he said.