CLEVELAND (WJW) – Lake Erie is the holder of a new Great Lakes waterspout record!

According to the International Center for Waterspout Research, there were 181 waterspouts and funnels over Lake Erie in just one day on Sunday. One observer even saw 72 alone!

On Saturday, Meteorologist Jenn Harcher spotted them through the windows in the Fox 8 newsroom and quickly took photos.

Brett Lee with Astro-Land Nature Photography also took photos of waterspouts from Mentor Headlands.

According to the ICWR, October 10 is day five of a waterspout outbreak in the Great Lakes.

Waterspouts are expected to continue to be seen over the Great Lakes heading into Wednesday.

On Tuesday, viewer Cindy Gunter captured the waterspout in the video at the top of this page in Sheffield Village.

Fox 8 Meteorologist Dontae Jones says, “This time of year we get low-pressure systems that bring cold and warm fronts which help with the contrast of temperatures. This contrast in temperatures between the lake/bottom part of the atmosphere and the upper atmosphere is greatest during the transitional season of summer to fall. The areas of low pressure add a spin to the atmosphere which can help in the development of some tornadic waterspouts.”

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a waterspout is a “whirling column of air and water mist.”

The NOAA says fair weather and tornadic waterspouts are the two categories this weather phenomenon is typically seen.

Tornadic waterspouts are tornadoes that either form over land and move to the water or form over water themselves. This type of waterspout is typically associated with severe weather. 

Fair-weather waterspouts develop on the surface of the water and work their way upward. They can move to land but are typically not associated with thunderstorms, according to the NOAA.

“Waterspout formation typically occurs when cold air moves across the Great Lakes and results in large temperature differences between the warm water and the overriding cold air,” explains the NWS. “They tend to last from about two to twenty minutes and move along at speeds of 10 to 15 knots.”

According to the ICWR, there have been 1,505 total waterspouts across the world so far in 2023.