Brett Anderson

Update on Great Lakes Ice

2/06/2014, 10:11:21 AM

Ice coverage on the Great Lakes continues to run well above normal and based on the projected pattern for the next 7-10 days we should continue to see more steady growth.

The image below shows the current make-up of the ice on the Great Lakes. Image courtesy of the Canadian Ice Service.


The most striking part of this graphic is the fact that nearly all of Lake Superior is covered with ice, which is highly unusual. Even though there is still plenty of open water on deeper Lake Ontario there is still much more ice than usual.

The open waters of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay continue to shrink.

The graph below shows the weekly ice coverage in terms of percentage covered with ice on the Great Lakes.


Currently, about 75 percent of the total area of all the Great Lakes is covered with ice. Normal peak coverage is about 40 percent, which normally reaches its highest level in March.

For this current week (Feb 5), the highest percentage of ice was 82 percent, which occurred in 1996, followed by 79 percent in 1994. This current week ranked third highest going back to 1981.

Possible impacts from this high ice coverage on the weather......

1. Shorter lake-effect snow season and reduced intensity of lake-snow bands. 2. Arctic air masses typically get modified as they cross the warmer Great Lakes, but with much more ice/snow those air masses could end up being even colder than what they normally would be. 3. Increase in ice jams. 4. Stronger winds and more blowing snow.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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