Waterspouts near Kenosha September 12th, 2013 (Updated 9/25)

A family of waterspouts developed over the near shore waters southeast of Kenosha between 1:05 pm and 1:40 pm CDT on Thursday, September 12th. 

After reviewing video, photographs and first hand accounts submitted to the National Weather Service in Milwaukee/Sullivan, it was determined that four waterspouts occurred in the near shore waters from east of Carol Beach and Pleasant Prairie to east of Winthrop Harbor Illinois. 

The below graphic illustrates the estimated timing and location of these waterspouts (click for a larger view).

september 12th waterspout timing and tracks

The estimated begin and end times of the waterspouts and locations are listed below:  

Waterspout

Began

Location

Ended

Location

1

1:06 pm

1.3 E Carol Beach

1:24 pm

2.9 E Carol Beach

2

1:20 pm

1.7 E Carol Beach

1:37 pm

2.6 E Carol Beach

3

1:31 pm

2.1 ENE Winthrop Harbor

1:40 pm

4.1 E Winthrop Harbor

4

1:37 pm

3.8 E Winthrop Harbor

TBD

To be determined

The combination of warm Lake Michigan temperatures and a nearby strong cold front caused the waterspout formation.  The below 1251 pm CDT radar image from the Milwaukee Terminal Doppler Radar located in northern Racine county shows a strong cold front/boundary extending from the Carol Beach/Pleasant Prairie area of southeast Kenosha county, northwest through central Racine county.  The waterspouts developed about 15 minutes later just east of Carol Beach. (click for a larger view)

Milwaukee Terminal Doppler radar 4 panel - 1251 pm

The local environment favored waterspout development.  Below are several mesoscale analysis images from Noon (17z) depicting available surface instability, wind shear and low level convergence in the area of waterspouts.

Click for larger views
Sea Level Pressure with front over southeast WI surface pressure Surface Vorticiity and Convergence surface vorticity and convergence
Deep Layer Moisture Convergence Deep layer moisture flux convergence 0-3 km Mixed Layer Cape 0-3km Cape and surface vorticity

Click any of the thumbnails below to see an animation of the waterspout producing storm near Kenosha. The first is the lowest scan from the Milwaukee/Sullivan WSR-88D Radar. The second and third animations are from the Milwaukee TDWR and are the 1 and 2 degree elevation scans, respectively. The last animation is from the Chicago Terminal Doppler Weather Radar. In all of the images the top left corner shows the reflectivity, the top right corner shows the velocity, and the bottom right corner shows the storm relative motion.

Milwauee/Sullivan WSR-88D 0.5 Degree Elevation Radar Data Milwaukee TDWR 1 Degree Elevation Data Milwaukee TDWR 2 Degree Elevation Data Chicago TDWR 1 Degree Elevation Data
Milwauee/Sullivan WSR-88D 0.5 Degree Elevation Radar Data Milwaukee TDWR 1 Degree Elevation Data
Milwaukee TDWR 2 Degree Elevation Data
Chicago TDWR 1 Degree Elevation Data

Here are a few pictures we received through social media. Click each image to enlarge.

Credit: Officer Michael Madsen of the Kenosha Police Credit: Kenosha Police Department
Credit: Officer Michael Madsen of the Kenosha Police Credit: Kenosha Police Department
Credit: Jake Hoey. Taken near Pleasant Prairie. Credit: Shanon Molina
Credit: Jake Hoey. Taken near Pleasant Prairie.
Credit: Shanon Molina
Credit: Shanon Molina Credit: Shanon Molina
Credit: Shanon Molina Credit: Shanon Molina
Credit: Henry Healy. Taken near Southport Park.  
Credit: Henry Healy. Taken near Southport Park.
 

 Also, here is a video of the waterspouts provided by Jake Hoey.

The National Weather Service also received an isolated report of a waterspout east of Sheboygan around 430 PM on Thursday.  There were showers in the area, but no low level circulation was visible.  If you were witness to a waterspout east of Sheboygan, or heard of someone viewing it, please let us know. Send us an email to w-mkx.webmaster@noaa.gov


Townsend/Brooks/Kavinsky
NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan  



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