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Environment Canada issued a waterspout watch for Lake Erie amid several reports of spouts and funnel clouds over the area Thursday morning.

Waterspout watch issued for Lake Erie

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Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, July 10, 2014, 4:49 PM -

Several reports of funnel clouds and waterspouts over Lake Erie Thursday morning prompted Environment Canada to issue a watch for the area.

It remained in effect until noon.

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During that time swimmers and boaters were advised to monitor to the conditions.

According to EC, the spouts were the product of an area of showers and thunderstorms situated over the lake.

Waterspouts are considered to be weak tornadoes over water and they're normally seen in the early fall.

These rotating columns of water vapour range in diameter from 7 to 20 metres and can generate winds between 40 to 80 kilometres per hour -- more than enough to damage a boat.

They typically last about 10 minutes, Environment Canada says.

"As the cooler air passes over the warm lakes, it provides the perfect environment for waterspouts to kick up," explains Weather Network meteorologist Brian Dillon.

Although most waterspouts tend to stay over water, they do have the potential to come onshore. It's best to keep a safe distance if you see one develop.

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