Sunday, September 13, 2015

Saturday Was The Day Of The Waterspout

Waterspouts often form in coastal waters, especially around Florida this time of year.
One of several waterspouts offshore from Chicago Saturday.  

Yesterday, though, was off the charts as far as the geographic range of where these waterspouts showed up.

They were reported in Florida, naturally, especially near Tampa.

But they were also spotted in Lake Michigan just offshore from Chicagoin Lake Erie north of Ohio; just off the coast of Maryland, and around Long Island, New York, among other places.

Waterspouts are basically tornadoes over water, but almost always, they are weaker than tornadoes on land.

Still, you want to avoid them, because they can overturn boats and cause other havoc. Every once in awhile, they come ashore, injuring beach goers and damaging property.

Saturday was an extremely busy day for waterspouts because autumn was finally invading summer.

Someone unwisely goes swimming
as a waterspout swirls nearby on
Long Island, N.Y. Saturday. 
Cold air aloft sinking all the way to the Gulf of Mexico from Canada triggered the waterspouts near Florida.

The contrast between the warm humid air to the east and the chillier, autumnal air coming in from the northwest helped to develop a pretty dynamic cold front and storm system, which in turn helped trigger the waterspouts on the Atlantic Coast from Maryland to New England.

The waterspouts over the Great Lakes came in part because of the large contrast between the warm lake water, heated up by a toasty summer, and the autumnal air spilling south across the lakes.

Waterspouts are less likely today, though there might be some around the coastal waters of New England.

A waterspout near Tampa, Florida Saturday.  
The cold air that came in from Canada is modifying and becoming more stable, so the Great Lakes shouldn't have any spouts today.

I suppose there might be more around Florida, we'll see.

But if you are a waterspout fan, you hit the jackpot on Saturday.

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