Waterspout season is beginning in Northeast Ohio

Posted at 12:26 PM, Jul 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-31 12:26:20-04

CLEVELAND — Waterspout season may get started this weekend on Lake Erie. The season ramps up during the end of July and is most likely during August and September when the water is at its warmest levels of the year. There is the potential for a isolated waterspouts this weekend, especially on Sunday.

A land breeze developed near the lake-shore of Lake Erie Saturday morning. This boundary, or line of convergence, could cause a waterspout to form.

No waterspouts have been reported as of 11:30 am Saturday.

Colder air aloft associated with an upper level disturbance on Sunday may bring an even better potential for waterspouts.


Dr. Joseph Golden, a distinguished waterspout authority with the NOAA, defines the waterspout as a "funnel which contains an intense vortex, sometimes destructive, of small horizontal extent and which occurs over a body of water."

Depending on how they form, waterspouts come in two types: tornadic and fair weather.

Tornadic waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water, or move from land to water. They have the same characteristics as a land tornado. They are associated with severe thunderstorms, and are often accompanied by high winds and seas, large hail, and frequent dangerous lightning.

Fair weather waterspouts usually form along the dark flat base of a line of developing cumulus clouds. This type of waterspout is generally not associated with thunderstorms. While tornadic waterspouts develop downward in a thunderstorm, a fair weather waterspout develops on the surface of the water and works its way upward. By the time the funnel is visible, a fair weather waterspout is near maturity. Fair weather waterspouts form in light wind conditions so they normally move very little.



Weak high pressure will move off to the east by this afternoon. Light winds will become southwest and increase to 10 to 15 knots by late afternoon into the overnight. A cold front will move across the lake late Sunday morning or midday. Winds will shift from the northwest 15 to 20 knots along with higher waves expected along the lakeshore.

A Small Craft Advisory and Beach Hazard Statement for rip currents will likely be needed Sunday midday through the overnight. High pressure builds in by Monday afternoon through Wednesday. Winds and waves will be lighter for early next next week.

Report any waterspouts to News 5, NWS and @ICWR.

For more Information about waterspouts:Click here.