Potential for waterspouts on Lake Michigan

Weather News

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you’re heading to the lakeshore over the next couple of days, keep your eyes open for waterspouts!

Cooler temperatures have returned to the Great Lakes region to finish off the work week. The combination of cool air and warm water temperatures on Lake Michigan means there is the potential for waterspouts. 

Waterspouts are most commonly spotted in late summer or fall across the Great Lakes. In addition to cooler air temperatures and warm water temperatures, relatively light wind and ample moisture aid in the development of waterspouts.

There are two types of waterspouts: tornadic and fair weather. 

Tornadic waterspouts form from a parent thunderstorm. The funnel extends from the cloud to the surface, and they can be large, long-lived, and dangerous. 

Fair-weather waterspouts are much less dangerous. They are normally small and short-lived. Unlike a tornadic waterspout, the funnel of a fair-weather waterspout extends from the surface to the cloud base above. This is the kind of waterspout we have the potential of seeing over the next couple of days. 

Although fair-weather waterspouts are not typically dangerous, boaters should still avoid getting near the path of a waterspout. 

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