Great Lakes Ice Extent – update 2/20/21

Bill's Blog

Lake Michigan ice – from NOAA GLERL

Great Lakes ice extent rose to 45.8% on Friday, then dropped back to 44.7% on Saturday (2 20 21). The extent has increased quickly as the cold, Canadian dominated over the past two weeks. On Feb. 5, the Great Lakes had only a 8.3% ice cover.

Ice extent Friday 2 19 21

Lake Superior ice reached 50.6% on Friday. This includes not only solid ice, but also floating crushed ice that you could never walk on.

The weather stays cool with below freezing temperatures into the weekend. However, warmer weather and a little more wind may start to reduce the ice extent next week. Great Lakes ice extent usually peaks between mid-February and the first week of March.

NOAA forecast a maximum Great Lakes ice extent of 30% back in mid-January. The maximum has already exceeded that at 45.8%. on Tuesday 2/16/21.

Lake Michigan satellite picture from 2 12 21

The Lake Michigan satellite picture from Feb. 12 showed ice along the shore in WI and IL..with a band of clouds and snow showers over the lake. Grand Rapids added 0.6″ of snow Friday (19th), bringing the season total to 42.9″. That’s an increase of 27.7″ since Feb. 3, but Grand Rapids is still 16.7″ below average for the winter. However, both east and west of us, they have had above average snowfall this winter. Chicago has had 45.8″ and that’s 18.7″ above average for Feb. 20. Lansing has had 42.4″ of snow this winter and that’s 3.7″ above average-to-date.

Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse Friday

This was Thunder Bay Island in the snow…about 3-6″ fell there. You can see the ice getting thicker at the shore.

Alpena – 4 pm Friday

This was Alpena Friday afternoon the 12th – with heavy snow. Looks pretty dark with lots of ice in the river.

Radar – West Michigan
  • Above is live radar and this should update automatically.

The last 15 days (Feb. 6-20) have been 13.3 degrees colder than average in Grand Rapids. In the 14 days from Feb. 4-20, Grand Rapids picked up 28.1″ of snow. We’ve had at least 2″ of snow on the ground now for 27 days.

Daylight is increasing now at a pretty good rate. Today we get 2 min. and 48 sec. more daylight than yesterday. The sun now climbs to 36 deg. above the horizon at solar noon…from 24% at Christmas.

ALSO: Coldest morning of the winter in Austria. Icy sunset in the Netherlands. Severe frosts in France. Boise ID set a daily record of 4.4″ of snow on Friday Feb 12th. The previous record was 1.3″ set in 1966. The storm total as of midnight is 5.4″ which is the greatest 2-day Feb. total since 1957! More snow is on the way this morning. Snow and Ice in Seattle and Portland. Seattle set both a record low temperature and a daily snowfall record on Friday. Disaster declaration for all of Texas – very cold with some areas getting snow and freezing rain. Record cold in British Columbia. Puntzi Mt. at 46 below zero – coldest ever in February…mid 20s in Vancouver. Coldest morning of the winter in Ireland and the U.K. Today is the 8th day in a row that Glasgow MT has been below zero. Snowstorm coming to OK and N. TX – could be 4-6″ in Dallas.

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