Extensive Great Lakes Ice Coverage to Limit Severe Weather, Pose Challenges to Shipping Industry

By By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
March 14, 2015, 9:33:46 AM EDT

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For the second consecutive winter, ice coverage on the Great Lakes is well above normal, with 73.7 percent of the Great Lakes basin covered in ice as of March 9.

While ice coverage is down overall compared to this time last season, three of the five lakes are still heavily covered, with Lake Erie at 91.3 percent, Lake Huron above 89 percent and Lake Superior 84.9 percent as of March 10, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

On March 1, total ice coverage was ahead of where it was on March 1, 2014, 88 percent versus 86 percent, but ice coverage continues to drop. Last winter, Great Lakes ice coverage peaked at 92.5 on March 6, 2014, ranking as the second-most ice coverage in recorded history. This year, the highest percentage was 88.7 percent on Feb. 28, according to NOAA Physical Scientist George Leshkevich.


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