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Waterspouts: WTF Weather on Lake Michigan!?!

By JoshMogerman in News on Sep 24, 2011 8:00PM

Great Lakes Waterspouts [NOAA]
If you are on the Lakeshore or in a boat today, keep your eyes peeled for a freaky phenomenon: waterspouts.

Cold air over big bodies of warm water can produce whirling liquid masses that look like offshore tornadoes. They are more common in Northern Michigan, but the fresh water funnel clouds have been popping up along the western shores of Lake Michigan all morning, with sightings in Green Bay, Milwaukee and here in Chicago.

Waterspouts are not unique to the Great Lakes. They can occur in any large body of water, but are uncommon in our neck of the woods. They can do serious damage to boats and planes, so be careful out there!

We are not limited to watery tornadoes in the Great Lakes; there are unique tidal waves called seiches too. The most famous one hit in the summer of 1954, sweeping a number of fishermen out to drown.

If any of you Chicagoistas happen to see or snap photos of these things, we want to hear about it. In the meantime, you will have to make due with this video taken at 7:00 this morning, supposedly showing waterspouts (we don't see 'em, but have no reason to doubt they are there) off of the Loop:

This one off of Lake Forest:

And this video of a double waterspout taken earlier this year in Hawaii: