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Ship Captain Captures Five Stunning Waterspouts Over Lake Michigan

“This is the first time I’ve seen waterspouts like that since probably 1997."

Over the weekend, a freighter closer to the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan caught a rare sight of not one but five waterspouts above the lake. The National Weather Service recorded a total of nine waterspouts cropping up with winds around 45 miles per hour.

Freighter captain and storm chaser Eric Treece was able to film a dense grouping of the waterspouts. has more from Treece on the water formations he saw Saturday and his experience with them over the years:

“Being out here, I get a really good view of thunderstorms over the lake,” said Treece, who operates

“Once in a while we’ll get lucky and come across a waterspout outbreak.”

The conditions were right for the tornado-like formations on Saturday. Treece said they formed on the frontal boundary line as the freighter was passing by, about one to two miles off the port stern.


“This is the first time I’ve seen waterspouts like that since probably 1997,” he said, but “I know some guys on the boat who see them once or twice a year.”

Treece said the waterspouts lasted about 45 minutes. Watch this footage taken of them:

MLive reports this incident being the second time waterspouts have been spotted on the lake this summer. Meteorologist William Moreno told MLive the spouts are formed by cooler air on land coming together with warmer air over the lake.

Check out images from Treece on his Facebook page here. Treece also has a video on YouTube of the spouts here.

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