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First waterspout outbreak of 2020 hits the Great Lakes

Wednesday, August 5th 2020, 2:02 pm - Dozens of waterspouts have been seen over the Great Lakes recently. Here's why.

The Great Lakes just experienced their first waterspout "outbreak" of the 2020 season.

Wednesday marked the fifth consecutive day dozens of waterspouts were reported over the lakes, with the majority over Lakes Michigan, Erie, and Ontario.

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WHY HAVE WE SEEN SO MANY WATERSPOUTS?

"The overall atmospheric pattern that has settled in over Ontario the last several days has led to the outbreak," explains Weather Network meteorologist Kelly Sonnenburg.

"Cooler temperatures aloft, combined with warm lake temperatures, have created an unstable atmosphere conducive for waterspout formation."

Waterspouts are the most common during late summer early fall, when the lake temperatures are still relatively warm, meaning the recent outbreak is happening right on schedule.

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HERE'S WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT WATERSPOUTS

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Waterspouts are relatively harmless, provided you're watching them from a distance.

They are non-supercell tornado that form beneath a rapidly growing cumulus cloud. While spouts usually dissipate over the water, they may occasionally come ashore as a weak landspout tornado.

When that occurs, a tornado warning is normally issued for the area.

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