So the International Centre for Waterspout Research reported 16 waterspouts on the Great Lakes in the last week, which means water spout season is upon us.
Late August and early September are prime times for waterspouts on the Great Lakes – the weather conditions are perfect at times for these swirling visual wonders.
Waterspouts form when a “convergence zone” moves over a Great Lake at the same time cooler air aloft is moving in. That is to say, when a cold front crosses one of the Great Lakes and brings much cooler weather. The waterspouts usually form on the first fall-like days. The cold air aloft moves over the relatively warm water. The warm air near the surface is light and rises higher in the atmosphere. The cold air aloft does the opposite and sinks toward the ground. At the same time, a cold front brings with it a wind shift usually from southwest to northwest. Along that line where the air swings in direction to the northwest, spinning of the air occurs.
So be careful and aware of the weather if any of your near-term plans include paddling or adventuring out on the Great Lakes!