Great Lakes ice cover much lower than average

NOW: Great Lakes ice cover much lower than average

Lake Michigan -- Ice cover on the Great Lakes typically peaks this time of year, but as of right now, ice cover on all five lakes is much below average.

The trend line in blue is the average ice cover. The red line shows this season's ice cover as of February 17. The average ice cover typically peaks in late February/early March. We likely reached the peak for ice cover. Extreme cold is less likely going into March so it's less likely we see greater ice coverage. 

Nathan Voytovick

This graphic shows the percent of the lake covered with ice as of February 17, 2020. This is compared to the same value for last year and average.

The biggest difference is in Lake Erie, which is just 5% covered with ice. Normally, the lake is 65% covered at this point. Last February, Lake Erie was 90% covered.

Lake Michigan is 15% covered, but normally is 25% covered. This is down from last year's 45%.

Lake Superior is 20% covered, down 25% from the average 45% cover, and down 60% from last year.

Lake Huron is 20% covered right now. On average, it is 50% covered.

Lake Ontario is just 5% covered as well, when it is averagely 15% covered.

This winter has been one of the warmest on record and it is unlikely that we will see much more ice develop. We are nearing the end of the peak ice season, even if there's another bout of cold before winter is finished.


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