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Steam Devils

Lake Ontario - Jan. 10, 2004

Steam Devils are formed when very cold air combine with a slight breeze over top of relatively warm open water usually in the wintertime. the contrast between the warmer water and the frigid air causes steam to rise and if the winds are just right, they can spin the steam into a wispy vortex similar to a dust devil in the summer. On Jan. 10th, 2004 the air temperature was about -25C with a windchill of about -35. Lake Ontario had not yet frozen over and the result was a dramatic steam devil display.

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Here are some frame captures of an amazing steam devil that spun up right beside the rising sun. Snap0023
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The dividing line between the frozen lake ice and the steaming open water.

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Steam devil, lake effect clouds and blue sky over Lake Ontario.

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This steam devil took on a slender cone appearance.

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This steam devil had a ropey look to it.

Click HERE to view the movie clip of this event. (Windows Media Player - 2.21 MB)