Waterspout Over Lake Erie
June 22, 2009
The photo above showing an eye opening waterspout was taken on Lake Erie, near Dunkirk, New York, on July 23, 2008. It lasted from 11:30 a.m. to about 11:50 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) and as seen here was heading on an ENE track. Waterspouts; though, not as potent as most tornadoes, can’t be taken lightly. They’re more often observed in tropical waters but can occur in mid latitudes in mid to late summer. Like tornadoes, a rotating column of air dangles from a cumiloform parent cloud but unlike tornadoes, they’re not associated with powerful mesocyclone thunderstorms. As their name implies, waterspouts only develop over water and usually dissipate upon reaching shore. A tornado which travels across a river or embayment is still a tornado or may be referred to as a tornadic waterspout. Only rarely do winds in waterspouts exceed category 0 (65 to 85 mph) on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Nonetheless, take cover when these whirlwinds approach.