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Video shows extremely rare waterspout on Minnesota's Lake Vermilion

Extremely rare waterspout spotted on Lake Vermilion in Minnesota
Extremely rare waterspout spotted on Lake Vermilion in Minnesota 00:31

DULUTH, Minn. — The National Weather Service says a 90-foot-wide waterspout, a tornado that forms over water, took a dazzling and distressing ride across Minnesota's Lake Vermillion on Sunday afternoon.

It developed at about 2:17 p.m. on the island-dotted lake's southeastern edge and traveled northeast about 2 miles at an estimated top speed of 65 mph. It fizzled out on the lake about five minutes later near Soudan.

No one was hurt and there are no reports of any damage as of Monday afternoon.  

A low-pressure system ushered in showers and storms that led to the weak tornadic activity over the lake, located about 100 miles north of Duluth and about 25 miles south of the Canadian border.


The weather service, which preliminarily ranked the waterspout as an EF0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, says only four others have been reported in Minnesota since 1998, with the third one just occurring on Saturday on West Battle Lake in Cass County.

There are two types of waterspouts, according to the weather service: fair-weather waterspouts and tornadic waterspouts. Fair-weather waterspouts typically develop on water surfaces from the bases of cumulus clouds. They're generally less destructive and rarely make landfall.

Tornadic ones commonly emerge downward in severe storms and can develop either on water or move from land to water. 

The weather service says boaters are urged to move away from the path of a waterspout at a 90-degree angle.

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