Walkin' past winter waterspouts: rare footage captured on Lake Superior


An attentive Minnesotan traveling Lake Superior's North Shore has provided the weather world with footage of the rare meteorological phenomenon known as a winter waterspout.

Jason Deters shot the video near Knife River earlier this month and posted it to YouTube. It shows warm water spiraling upward from the lake into the much colder clouds in a shape a little like a tornado.

Several spouts are visible late in Deters' video and Michigan weather blogger Mark Torregrossa wrote in a post last week that Deters estimated he saw twenty waterspouts on Dec. 7.

According to the science writer at BoingBoing.net, the Weather Channel says there are only half a dozen known photos of winter waterspouts.

The spouts only occur when the air over the lake is considerably colder than the water temperature. Torregrossa writes that on Dec. 7 the lake water was about 50 degrees warmer than the 11 degrees below zero recorded in those clouds 5,000 feet up.

Deters first shared the video with Minnesota Public Radio's Paul Huttner, who provides charts of the air and water temperatures that day.

Waterspouts are more common during the summer months. Scientists are still learning about the winter version, along with a land-based cousin called the snownado, AccuWeather reports.

Some of the best footage of winter waterspouts came from Lake Champlain in January of 2009.

Next Up

police tape, crime scene

Man found dead outside home near Cass Lake

The man was reportedly shot outside the property.


Gov. Walz announces $1M in grants to boost Minnesota tourism

The money will be used for marketing efforts to attract people to Minnesota's hard-hit tourist spots.

coronavirus, ICU

Nov. 25 COVID-19 update: 72 deaths ties Minnesota's single-day high

A COVID-19 update will not be provided on Thanksgiving Day.


Revival to open its fourth Twin Cities location

The fried chicken and smoked meat maestros are moving to St. Louis Park.

Duluth and Case Recreation Center

St. Paul to open two extra temporary shelters for homeless people

Mayor Melvin Carter announced the new shelters will be opened in the event of excess demand.

vote, election

Minnesota once again had the highest election turnout in the country

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a record percentage of voters also sent in absentee ballots.

court gavel

Minneapolis man sentenced to 30 years for death in robbery gone wrong

James Moore was sentenced in the death of Malik Smith.

Em1jOWyWEAwspXK (1)

St. Paul homicide suspect arrested by FBI in Chicago

A 34-year-old Minneapolis man was killed in the Nov. 14 shooting.

Sanford Health

Sanford Health 'parts ways' with CEO after his face mask comments

Kelby Krabbenhoft had been with the company since 1996.