Waterspout touches down near Little Current

A waterspout on the North Channel as viewed from a White’s Point property last Wednesday. photo by Gloria Paisley

NORTH CHANNEL—Manitoulin has been subjected to all kinds of interesting water phenomenon over the last week, the latest a downburst, or microburst, that whipped through the property of Doug and Cathy King in Mindemoya last Saturday night.

The strange weather began last Wednesday around noon when sighting of a ‘twister’ came into this newspaper office fast and furious along with some great photos, such as the one accompanying this story taken by Gloria Paisley of White’s Point.

What has now been confirmed as a waterspout by Environment Canada could be seen from various areas around Little Current in the North Channel around White’s Point, terrifying onlookers who thought they were seeing a tornado heading for that community.

According to Geoff Coulson, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, the most frequent time to see waterspouts is the late summer.

“With the warm temperatures of the North Channel, if a cool outbreak of air comes in from the north, mixing with warm temperatures underneath, it makes for an unstable condition as warm air wants to rise,” Mr. Coulson explained.

Waterspouts can create wind speeds of 80 to 90 kilometres an hour, he explained, urging people to maintain caution if they see a waterspout, especially for those out on the water in small crafts.

When a waterspout makes contact with land, it then becomes a tornado, as was the case in Goderich in 2011.

“Those are much more rare, but super dangerous,” Mr. Coulson said, reiterating the importance of giving waterspouts a wide berth.

There have been five confirmed tornadoes in Ontario this year, which is well below the seasonal average (which ends in late September or early October) of 12.