Waterspout In Wyoming Mountains Could Be Highest In Elevation
Waterspouts at lower elevations and near coastal waters are a rather common occurrence. One at 7782 ft is rather rare!
This waterspout was spotted high in the Wind River Mountains above Pinedale, Wyoming on Saturday, May 31st. Kathy Raper is a spotter for the National Weather Service and was traveling along the Green River Lakes Road when she looked up and saw a funnel cloud. Seeing it touch down on Dollar Lake would officially make this a waterspout. After some initial research, the folks at the National Weather Service have been unable to find another waterspout at that kind of elevation.
This appears to be a Tornadic waterspout, also accurately referred to as "tornadoes over water", and is formed from mesocyclonic action in a manner nearly identical to traditional land-based tornadoes in connection with severe thunderstorms, but simply occurring over water. Since the vast majority of mesocyclonic thunderstorms occur in land-locked areas of the United States, true tornadic waterspouts are correspondingly rarer than their fair-weather counterparts in this country.