Rare Steam Devil Was Just Spotted in Minnesota
It's a weather phenomenon that doesn't happen very often, but a 'steam devil' just appeared here in Minnesota.
Our ride on the weather rollercoaster here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes has been fairly extreme so far this winter. First, we experienced an unseasonably warm December without much snow to speak of at all-- even up north.
In fact, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) noted that "Christmas Eve was the warmest December 24th on record at each of Minnesota's five 'first-order' climate stations, with Duluth, International Falls, Rochester, St. Cloud, and the Twin Cities all observing both the highest high temperature and the highest low temperature on record for the date."
ALSO INTERESTING: Rare Dust Devil Spotted in Minnesota
Then, of course, the North Star State plunged quickly into sub-zero temperatures, where much of the state has remained for the past week or so. But it's that massive difference in temperatures that lead to a rare weather phenomenon to form here in the Bold North.
The crew at Northern News Now in Duluth posted a video of a rare steam devil that formed over Lake Superior earlier this week. Never heard of a steam devil? I hadn't either, but according to the World Meteorological Organization, steam devils form when cold air forms over warmer water.
Steam devil: A small, gentle whirling column of saturated air of varying height, with a small diameter and an approximately vertical axis, that forms when cold air is over a relatively much warmer body of water or saturated surface.
Steam devils are similar to what weather experts also call 'sea smoke.' According to AccuWeather, sea smoke forms when cold air meets warm water. But while sea smoke looks like fog, a steam devil forms a funnel cloud and looks like a dust devil or small tornado.
Seeing a steam devil here in Minnesota IS pretty rare. Check out the video below, as well as a different video of a steam devil on Lake Superior from 2014. And speaking of rare, keep scrolling to check out the most Extreme Weather in All 50 States!
LOOK: The most extreme temperatures in the history of every state
Gallery Credit: Anuradha Varanasi