Boaters and photographers should be on the alert for Great Lakes waterspouts Sunday.
The potential for seeing a waterspout exists across all of the Great Lakes from Lake Superior to Lake Ontario on Sunday.
Much cooler air will move in behind a departing cold front over the warm waters of the Great Lakes. At the same time, a puddle of chilly air will form high above the surface in the upper levels of the atmosphere.
According to AccuWeather.com Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "These conditions often lead to heavy snow squalls during the winter. When they occur during the late summer and fall, occasionally, waterspouts can form."
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.
Lake water temperatures are in the lower 60s to near 70 degrees and the air passing over the Great Lakes, dipping to the upper 20s and lower 30s during the morning, will be cool enough to allow moisture to gather just above the surface.
According to Severe Weather Expert Henry Margusity, "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.
Regardless of whether or not waterspouts form, widespread showers and a few thunderstorms will affect the Great Lakes and areas downwind.
Cities such as Erie, Pa., Buffalo, N.Y., Grand Rapids, Mich., and Marquette, Mich., will be in store for a chilly, unsettled end to the weekend.
The same storm opening the door for snow showers to stream across the United Kingdom and Ireland will impact southern Europe late in the week.
The punches just keep coming from Old Man Winter as another storm with snow may sweep from the Midwest this weekend into the Northeast by Groundhog Day.
An Alberta Clipper will bring a fresh wave of snow to the Northeast for the end of the week.
As it became obvious on Saturday that a major blizzard was going to hit the Northeast, the track and size of the storm became critical as to which areas would be hit the hardest.
The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks will take center stage on Sunday, Feb. 1, as the Super Bowl kicks off in Glendale, Arizona.
Watching somebody shivering on television can induce the same type of physiological response as braving the icy elements in person, according to research conducted by scientists at the University of Sussex.
Mid Atlantic/ Northeast (1966)
Strong coastal storm (Jan. 29th-30th). Blizzard conditions with gale-force winds; over 50 deaths, 1-2 feet of snow with drifts to over 10 feet. Snowfall amounts and wind speeds: Washington, DC 12.0 inches Baltimore, MD 12.0 inches Roanoke, VA 17.0 inches West Virginia 12-20 inches Chesapeake Bay 10-16 inches Charlotte, NC 4.4 inches Reading, PA 11.7 inches & 54 mph winds Harrisburg, PA 10.2 inches & 42 mph winds Philadelphia, PA 8.3 inches & 38 mph winds Williamsport, PA 13.0 inches & 32 mph winds Pittsburgh, PA 6.0 inches & 35 mph winds Allentown, PA 11.5 inches & 46 mph winds State College, PA 10.0 inches Newport, PA 16.0 inches
Kenner, LA (1991)
Severe damage from a tornado over a five-block area.
Mid Atlantic (1993)
Temperatures across VA & MD rise 20-25 degrees in an hour with warm frontal passage.