SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) — A waterspout, to put it very simply, is a tornado over a body of water. They actually are common for Lake Ontario.
According to the International Center for Waterspout Research, Lake Ontario has an average of 17 confirmed sightings per year. In 2013, there was a total of 88 waterspout sightings!
The month of August begins the peak time of year that you see them. That’s because it’s when the lakes are their warmest.
A waterspout typically occurs when cold air aloft moves across the warm body of water. Just like in the winter, with lake effect snow, the large temperature difference plays a key role.
Waterspouts develop at the surface of the water and climb skyward. Usually, they last about two to 20 minutes and move between 12 to 17 mph.
They’re usually weaker than tornadoes but they should still be taken seriously, especially if you’re a boater.
Keep an eye out this weekend too because it looks like conditions will be favorable for more, especially on Saturday.
For more Storm Team news, follow Lindsay Raychel on Twitter @LindsayrNC9