Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
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Waterspouts on the Great Lakes
After a summer of sailing on Lake Ontario, I've gotten used to the 'Thunderstorm Warnings' issued by Environment Canada. Today was the first day I had a sail planned and came across a 'Waterspout Watch'. The forecast actually says 'A few waterspouts ending early this evening.' A few. As if it's 'a few showers'.
I did some reading, including some threads on SN about people who got caught by spouts, and had to change my trousers. Are you kidding me? Tornadoes popping up on the water while you're sailing? That sounds like my worst nightmare.
How common are these death spirals? How seriously should I take a 'Water Spout Watch' or a 'Water Spout Warning'? Does that mean stay at the dock, or just keep your eyes open while you're out on the water? Are they more likely to form near shore, or farther out on the lake, or does it not matter? Any Great Lakes sailors have any advice for me?