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Waterspouts | Ontario

MUST SEE: Waterspout outbreak on Lake Ontario

Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 2:20 PM - Weather conditions have been ripe for the development of waterspouts this week across Lakes Ontario and Erie, with multiple sightings reported Tuesday afternoon.

Photos of spouts have been making the rounds over social media, with multiple images taken by residents in Wellington, Ont.

As a result, Environment Canada issued a special marine warning Tuesday for all of Lake Ontario and eastern Lake Erie.

"Waterspouts have been reported over Lake Ontario and Lake Erie," says the warning. "The conditions will remain favourable for waterspouts this afternoon and evening."

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The easiest way to distinguish the difference between a tornado and a waterspout is simply if it occurs over water. A waterspout in general is any tornado over a body of water, typically a non-supercell tornado in its most common form.

According to the U.S. National Weather Service, a waterspout is a small, relatively weak rotating column of air over water beneath a cumulonimbus or towering cumulus cloud. Waterspouts are most common over tropical or subtropical waters. The exact definition of waterspout is debatable. In most cases the term is reserved for small vortices over water that are not associated with storm-scale rotation (i.e., they are the water-based equivalent of landspouts).

RELATED: VIRAL VIDEO: Watch a firenado become a waterspout

While most of Tuesday is expected to be rain-free in southern Ontario, scattered rain showers are possible with brief downpours along a cold front that could mix with small hail or graupel in some areas. Chilly single digit temperatures dominate the forecast for the rest of the week, with lake-effect snow in the cards for parts.

See waterspouts captured over the Great Lakes below:

EXPLAINER: How and why waterspouts form over the Great Lakes

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