Water Spouts Swarm Kayakers On Lake MI

9:04 AM, Aug 18, 2005   |    comments
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Muskegon-They say they almost died. 8 men kayaking across Lake Michigan got caught in a storm, surrounded by water spouts. Dean Shafer said, “We saw a squall line coming towards us and the rain coming down and the next thing we know we had a couple of water spouts dancing around us." A water spout Waltz for 8 kayakers was reason enough to boogie. “I think I was anxious very surreal like this isn't really happening." Dean Shafer wasn't sure he'd see dry land again. “It's one of those things that takes you off your game plan." A cancer survivor, Dean and his buddies planned to paddle 80 miles from Milwaukee to Muskegon to raise money for research. Just 20 miles from the finish they ran into a wave of trouble. “All of a sudden a water spout came between two boats within 25 yards and all of a sudden the water started darkening and lifting up into a spiral." WZZM 13 Chief Meteorologist George Lessens said, “Water spouts develop in that kind of environment. You'll get warm water like it has been lately and rising temperatures. It starts to rotate and you get those water spouts.” In other words, you get tornados over water. Dean said, “We were racing for our lives for a little." Support boats plucked the friends from the water and the Cross Lake Ferry stood by to make sure the group made it to shore. “The drama was exciting." Drama that cut short Dean's quest to cure a disease that once almost killed him...yet Tuesday afternoon inspired him to survive again. “That's the way with cancer too you got to fight through it and beat it." The group raised $25,000.

Kathy Reynolds

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