Increased risk of rip currents and waterspouts - Fox 2 News Headlines

Increased risk of rip currents and waterspouts

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Photo courtesy of Accuweather. Photo courtesy of Accuweather.
Photo courtesy of kuddlyteddybear2004 via Flickr. Photo courtesy of kuddlyteddybear2004 via Flickr.
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Boaters beware and photographers get your cameras ready!

A strong area of low pressure combined with unseasonably cool air aloft will make conditions ripe for dangerous rip currents and the formation of waterspouts along southern Lake Michigan late Thursday and early Friday.

Northeast winds between 10-15 mph will remain over Lake Michigan through Saturday created a moderate risk for rip currents. Wave heights will be range between 3-5 feet. 58 people have drowned this summer around the entire Great Lakes. So please remember to watch your kids around the water.

Much cooler air will move in over the warm waters of the Great Lakes. At the same time, a chilly air mass will form high above the surface in the upper levels of the atmosphere.

These conditions are what we normally see during the winter and often lead to heavy snow squalls. When this occurs this time of the year, waterspouts can form.

Low pressure in the upper atmosphere will settle in over southern Lake Michigan. This creates rotation in the upper atmosphere. The flow of cool air into the zone of warm, moist, rising air over the lake can cause small areas of rotation. As these swirls rise and tighten, a waterspout can form.

Waterspouts are essentially weak, short-lived tornadoes over water. However, they do not need an intense thunderstorm to form. In fact, most form in an entirely different manner, compared to tornadoes.

While mostly a threat to small craft, occasionally they can wander onshore before dissipating, causing minor property damage. They often have the strength equivalent of an EF0 tornado.

The visible funnel is mostly caused by the condensation of the moisture due to the low pressure within the storm and not so much by surface water being drawn upward.

Lake Erie is the best bet for capturing photos of the storms, with Lake Ontario number two and Lake Michigan number three.

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