A waterspout watch was issued early Thursday morning for Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and Whitefish Bay.
“Cold unstable air, moving over warmer waters can help produce waterspouts. That's what prompted the watch for the Great Lakes,” explains Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. “Strong wind warnings are also in place and that could lead to choppy and dangerous waters throughout the day.”
While waterspouts are often much weaker than the land counterparts, there have been instances where waterspouts become tornadoes.
Around noon on Thursday, Wade Szilagyi from Environment Canada reported two waterspouts to The Weather Network's Stormline. He said they were sighted south of Port Hope in the middle of Lake Ontario during the morning hours. There were no reports of damages.
As many as five waterspouts formed off the coast of North Carolina last month and one came ashore, transitioning into a tornado.
“It's rare, but the threat is there for this to happen,” warns Vettese.
Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Thursday morning warning that waterspouts over Lake Huron and Georgian Bay may come onshore.
Waterspouts and tornadoes are similar in nature as they're localized storms formed by winds rotating at very high speeds. Minor damage to property is possible with waterspouts.
With files from Jill Colton