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Photos show waterspout embedded in line of showers near Muskegon Lake

13 ON YOUR SIDE Chief Meteorologist George Lessens confirms a small waterspout popped up just after 2 p.m. near Muskegon Lake Tuesday.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — A small waterspout grew out of a line of showers rolling through Muskegon Tuesday afternoon. 

Around 2:19 p.m., several viewers reported seeing the waterspout, and their photos corroborated the radar indication of the waterspout.

Text "STORM" to 616.559.1310 to share any photos or video.

Waterspout confirmed near #Muskegon Lake Tuesday afternoon. Photos from @13OnYourSide viewers corroborate radar indication of a waterspout.

Posted by Meteorologist George Lessens on Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Credit: Chris Nelson - Muskegon State Park

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines a waterspout as a "funnel which contains an intense vortex, sometimes destructive, of small horizontal extent and which occurs over a body of water."

Tornadic waterspouts start as tornadoes on land that move out over the water, while fair weather waterspouts form only over the water. 

The NWS said fair weather waterspouts are more common, are typically small and are less dangerous than its tornadic counterpart. 

You should still take waterspouts seriously, though.  Especially boaters. 

NOAA said waterspouts happen frequently in northern Michigan in August, September and October when the Great Lakes are near their warmest levels. 

Waterspouts form when cold air moves across the Great Lakes, creating a temperature difference between the warm water and overriding cold air. 

The NWS said waterspouts tend to last about two to twenty minutes, and typically move anywhere from 10 to 15 knots. 

You can learn more about waterspouts in Michigan here. 


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