Image
© Derek Dennis
Waterspouts formed over Lake Michigan near Holland on July 27. Similar phenomena were spotted on Saturday morning off South Haven.
Saturday: The National Weather Service is now reporting nine waterspouts from two separate storms were witnessed on Lake Michigan.

Waterspouts have been spotted over Lake Michigan today and forecasters say it's possible more could spawn tonight and Sunday night.

The National Weather Service said three of the tornado-like vortices were reported to them shortly before noon on Saturday, by people who were out on a fishing boat in Lake Michigan this morning.

The spouts were spotted about 24 miles west of the South Haven lighthouse.

The storms that caused them were small, 15-minute "pop-ups," said William Moreno, a meteorologist in the NWS office in Grand Rapids.

Conditions were right this morning for the waterspouts, Moreno said, with a land breeze converging over lake water warmed by the summer heat.

The water in that part of the lake, the widest part of Lake Michigan, is about 72 degrees, he said. Winds in spout areas often reach 40 to 60 mph. Boaters or swimmers are advised to seek shelter when they are spotted.

Waterspouts are relatively rare, but have been seen already this summer off Holland.

Scattered storms have been moving over the central Lower Peninsula on Saturday. Clusters have moved east from Muskegon through Montcalm and Isabella counties, said Moreno.

The outflow boundary from the storm cluster has been darkening skies over southern Kent County and the Grand Rapids area, and that could produce a storm in the next few hours, he said.

Tonight and Sunday night, the air over Wisconsin and Michigan will cool again, said Moreno, and the situation that produced the spouts could be repeated,

National Weather Service offices in Milwaukee, Gaylord and Chicago are forecasting waterspouts on Sunday, he said.

"Tomorrow is better because we have a cold front coming south. The convection will be deeper and that will encourage more in the way of waterspouts."