The first waterspouts of the season started out with a bang. A tornado warned cell on land in the US was moving over Lake Huron. Was it going to keep its tornadic criteria, or would Lake Huron kill it over water? The answer, after looking at radar, was quite clear and concise: its tornadic form remained and it produced, not one or two, but up to six severe type waterspouts over the lake as it made its way into Canadian waters.
What is a waterspout? Waterspouts have the same mechanics as a land tornado.They are related to the land tornado and are connected to severe thunderstorms and bring with them high winds, large hail and frequent lightning. Are there different types of waterspouts? Yes, there are two types: fair weather and tornadic.The one I witnessed was the former type.
The fair weather type of spout forms along a dark, flat base of a developing cumulus cloud. While tornadic waterspouts develop downward in a thunderstorm, the fair weather type develops on the surface of the water and works its way upward. When we see an actual funnel out of it, they have reached what we call its mature stage. A mature waterspout will have a funnel reaching the water, and you will see a spray ring at the bottom of the funnel.
Waterspouts can be dangerous, and it is very important to use caution and to keep clear of the vortex. It is not recommended to approach it. If it is of a tornadic nature, it can and will capsize a boat and injure people.Tornado warnings and/or marine warnings are issued if there is the possibility of a waterspout. It is best to heed all watches and warnings during waterspout season in your respective area.