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Waterspout in the Snow Over Lake Michigan

Winter has already provided us with some amazing images in 2014, but a waterspout in the snow over Lake Michigan just might top them all.

The picture was taken on the southside of Chicago at 10:23 p.m. CST on Sunday night.

Nick Ulivieri of Nick Ulivieri Photography explains how he got the shot:

I brought my camera along when I stepped outside to feel the cold and wind coming into “#Chiberia“. A few moments later I looked into the southern sky and saw a strange rope-like cloud hanging from the sky. I snapped a few photos and promptly posted it to Twitter to see if any meteorologists could tell me about it. Well, the photo caught fire. Turns out I caught a somewhat rare winter waterspout.”

Meteorologist Reed Timmer talks about the amazing shot:

This water spout developed over Lake Michigan a few hours ago as record-breaking cold air is pouring over the relatively warm lake waters. Remember the miniature couplets apparent on radar with that lake effect band posted earlier?? I bet there is an outbreak of water spouts ongoing tonight over Lake Michigan.”

Some could barely believe that the photo was real. Ulivieri quickly took care of those rumors:

One meteorologist suggested it was a cold-air funnel. describes cold-air funnels:

Cold-air funnel clouds (vortices) are usually short-lived and generally much weaker than the vortices produced by supercells. Although cold-air funnels rarely make ground contact, they may touch down briefly and become weak tornadoes or waterspouts.

Unlike the related phenomenon associated with severe thunderstorms, cold-air funnels are generally associated with partly cloudy skies in the wake of cold fronts, where atmospheric instability and moisture is sufficient to support towering cumulus clouds but not precipitation.

An amazing shot in what has already become a memorable 2014.

See more amazing weather shots from Nick Ulivieri.

Follow Matt Milhouse on Facebook and Twitter.  Listen to 100.5 The River weekdays, 10am – 3pm.

Nick Ulivieri Photography/Twitter

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