Very Little Ice

Bill's Blog

There’s very little ice on the Great Lakes (and on many inland lakes, too). The ice map from Friday (1/15) shows only a 1.6% ice cover on Lake Superior. There’s some ice in Duluth Harbor and in Chequamegon Bay in N. Wisconsin and in Black Bay and Thunder Bay in Canada. That’s about it. Lake Michigan has just a 1.2% ice cover, mainly in Green Bay. The Great Lakes as a whole have a 1.9% ice cover. There is no ice on Lake Erie.

The lack of ice on many Michigan lakes is not welcome by ice fishers, but it’s been helpful for Great Lakes ships, many of which are still moving freight around the Great Lakes.

Historical Maximum Ice Extent on the Great Lakes

This graph shows the maximum ice extent on the Great Lakes for each year since 1973. You can see it’s quite variable and overall doesn’t show much of a pattern, just a lot of year-to-year variation. The most was 94.7% in (Feb.) 1979 – note the 3 winters in a row with very high ice extents from 1977-79 – all very cold winters and some of you will remember the Blizzard of ’78.

The lowest extent was 11.9% in 2002 and you can see we had 5 years in a row from 1998-2002 with very low ice extent on the lakes (warm winters). Last year we had very little ice on the Great Lakes (max. extent was just 19.5%), but the two years before that we cold winters with lots of ice from 2013-2015. The average maximum ice extent for the Great Lakes as a whole is 53.3%.

North American Snow and Ice Extent

Here’s North American Snow and Ice Extent as of Tuesday AM Jan. 19. You can see that the snow that fell across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi has quickly melted. By the way, much of the snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is in just two countries, Russia and Canada.

Modis Lake Superior satellite picture

It’s been hard to find a satellite pic. where you can see the ground – it’s been quite cloudy across the Great Lakes. This is the Lake Superior pic. from 1/5. You can see that inland lakes in N. Wisconsin and the U.P. are frozen over. You can see the bright ice in the bays of SW Lake Superior.

Low Temps. for Alaska for Thu. AM Jan. 21.

Here’s low temperatures for Alaska for Thursday PM – these temperatures are warmer than average. The coldest spot in Alaska Tue. AM (19th) was Russian Mission at -23F. Valdez had 47″ of snow on the ground.

From the Alyeska AK Ski Resort, about 40 miles SE of Anchorage: “After being closed all day yesterday due to severe weather, there is 31″ of fresh snow on the upper mountain, 25″ at mid mountain and 1″ at the base waiting for you! We are absolutely crushing it as the snowiest resort in all of North America with a total snowfall this season of 536″ and it’s only mid January.” The snow depth there is now 180″ (15 FEET!).

Also: Icy roads in the U.K. Beautiful sunrise in Alabama.

And…I didn’t know this: Elijah J. McCoy, an African-American inventor raised in Ypsilanti, patented the first automatic lubrication system for locomotives and other machinery, a device so effective that it was difficult to sell imitations that weren’t “the real McCoy.” Thus, McCoy’s name became synonymous with anything genuine or authentic.

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