Lake Michigan Waterspouts Put On Impressive Show (Video)

Friday, 13 Sep 2013 10:47 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Lake Michigan waterspouts put on an impressive show near Kenosha, Wis. on Thursday.

Commonly known as waterspouts, the funnel clouds developed during a thunderstorm as the result of a strong, cold northeast wind blowing across Lake Michigan's warm surface, according to WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling.

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The sight was captured on video by Enosha, Wis., resident Eric Greenberg.

"It looked like something out of a movie I've seen recently where some alien spaceship was sucking things out of the earth, that's what it looked like," Greenberg told the Chicago Tribune with a laugh.

"It didn't look like a tornado, because it was not conic in nature, it looked like a shaft," Greenberg added.

Though striking in appearance, WGN-TV's meteorologist warned of the potential dangers that accompany waterspouts.

"This is an explosively unstable atmosphere," Skilling said during the segment. "They would be formidable tornadoes and you wouldn’t want to get too close."

In particular, the waterspouts posed an obvious potential risk to boaters on the lake.

Local affiliate CBS 58 News reported that at least one resident observed a sailboat go missing after encountering the funnel cloud on Lake Michigan.

According to Sgt. Bill Beth of the Pleasant Prairie Police Department, the resident watched as the sailboat was overtaken by the water spout, and lost sight of the vessel after the funnel cloud moved across the lake.

"The Kenosha Sheriff's Department has talked to additional residents who are very sure that they saw the mast of a sailboat about one mile off shore that was over taken by the water spout as the water spout moved South, " Beth told CBS 58 News.

As of Thursday afternoon, Coast Guard search crews had not found any part of the boat washed up on shore.

The waterspouts reportedly did not touch down inland and caused no damage to surrounding communities.

Following the initial report of the waterspouts over Lake Michigan, the National Weather Service issued a special marine warning for waters near the Lake Michigan shore, stretching from Northerly Island to Winthrop Harbor, the Chicago Tribune noted.

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