Thursday, October 28, 2010

Waterspouts in Oswego!

One of the major draws to SUNY Oswego for meteorology majors (besides the epic snow) is the waterspouts that occur every fall over Lake Ontario. For those that are not familiar with waterspouts, they are similar to weak tornadoes over water. They are caused in part by the stark differences between the warm lake waters and cold air over top, hence why they occur mostly in the fall.

As the 4th and final fall of my time at Oswego began to draw to a close...I had begun to relent to the fact that waterspout season was ending and, in all four of my years, I had not yet seen one. I have had many close calls, but they are typically short lived and difficult to spot. However, today, my patience finally paid off and I was treated to a total of three waterspouts!

And, the number one rule of a meteorologist is to ALWAYS have your camera on hand. And so, thanks to that rule, here are some pictures of the waterspouts I witnessed at long last! Enjoy!

It may not look like the previous pictures'
waterspouts were touching the water. However,
this picture, in the middle, shows the "spray
ring" beneath the funnels. Even though invisible,
the circulation of these waterspouts most
certainly extended from cloud to water.
Even with the 24x zoom on my camera, it is
still difficult to see the spray. Look right above
the water, just slight right of center.

This was the last funnel I saw, and the hardest
to see/photograph. The lighter gray area in the
top center is the funnel. This one only lasted a
couple minutes and was much closer to shore
than the other two.

1 comment:

  1. Hey. Great report!

    My name is Wade. I am a meteorologist with the Meteorological Service of Canada. I research waterspouts. If you or others see a waterspout again, feel free to send me a note or pics at