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.
Severe storms may erupt from Texas to Wisconsin on Monday as the storm system that spawned several tornadoes across the Plains on Saturday and Sunday shifts slowly to the east.
Several tornadoes touched down from Oklahoma to Iowa, including near Wichita, Kan., and Oklahoma City, on Sunday.
A slow-moving storm resulted in a week of below-normal temperatures that will likely continue into the week.
Several tornado reports have come out of the Midwest this evening, impacting areas around Wichita and Oklahoma City.
Heavy rain returning to the northern Plains will generate a renewed flood threat for the Red River.
Keep up to date on the severe thunderstorm outbreak unfolding across the Plains by tracking local radars.
Patuxent River, MD (1996)
324 confirmed tornadoes so far in May.
Tornado has 70 mile long track that ends in Kansas City suburb. 48 people died.