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Waterspout forms over Lake Zurich

Staff writers
July 23, 2012 — A rare waterspout formed over Lake Zurich in Switzerland on Saturday.

Waterspout formed in Switzerland Saturday
Waterspout formed in Switzerland Saturday

Waterspouts may look like tornadoes, but they actually form over the water.

Police say the waterspout over Lake Zurich measured several metres high and generated winds of 40 to 60 km/h.

While rare, forecasters say waterspouts aren't completely unheard of in Switzerland. Waterspouts require certain conditions like warm water and cool air to develop.

"First, a dark disk-like shape forms in the water, then a vortex will begin to move around the disk," says The Weather Network's Chris St. Clair. "A funnel appears in the clouds above and then a spray ring develops. That's when water is sprayed into the air because of the rotation."

Waterspouts are generally less dangerous than tornadoes. They are usually much smaller, less destructive, live shorter lives and move more slowly than land-based tornadoes.

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