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Watch: Bystanders Mistake Rare Cloud Phenomenon for Waterspout

26 Apr 2017, 5:05 pm

You can’t really blame people for overreacting to this rare cloud! Residents of the Detroit, MI area confused this for a waterspout– but it is actually a bit cooler.

A Unique Phenomena

The Great Lakes are home to some pretty incredible weather. Just ask any shovel-bearing resident following a round of lake-effect snow. But as we transition out of the cold winter months, those massive bodies of water have one more cool trick up their sleeves (pun intended).

The Pneumonia Front

To keep this simple, under the right circumstances temperatures down wind of the lakes can take a pretty sharp dive. In fact, for it to be classified as a pneumonia front, temperatures must drop by 16 degrees or more in just one hour.

Often times a cold front combines with the cooler water to cause the rapid drop in the mercury, catching many residents off guard. That drop by almost 20 degrees often leaves many in search of a heavier coat– hence the cold-inducing name for the event.

How Cold Air Caused this Eerie Formation

A perfect illustration of a pneumonia front:

Here's the video……

Posted by Mark Steven on Thursday, April 20, 2017

As the pneumonia front moved over the Detroit River it dropped heavy rain over the cool river water. This is where the steam rising off the water comes into play. Now, this is where it gets interesting.

The frontal passage (fro-pa) happened almost immediately after the rain. The cold, dry air undercut the warm, moist air causing the steam to rise up into the clouds above!

As the front passed, one of the Detroit suburbs recorded a drop in temperature from 72 degrees to 54 degrees in just one hour! That’s shorts to jacket weather in less time than it takes to catch the latest spring blockbuster at your local cinema!


For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo

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