Great Lakes ice cover continues to increase. This is the MODIS Lake Superior satellite picture from Wed. PM (2/27/19) (from NOAA Coastwatch). As you can see, there is a lot of ice on Lake Superior. It’s not solid…you couldn’t walk across the lake, but it’s a lot. As the ice increases and the open water decreases…there is less lake-effect…less lake-effect snow, less lake-effect clouds and less lake-effect warming. You can the ice has just about shut down any chance of lake-effect now in the Western U.P.
Here’s the latest % of ice extent on the Great Lakes from Wed. PM. The Great Lakes as a whole is at 74.19%. Lake Michigan has climbed to 44.2%. Lake Erie is almost totally ice covered at 93.3% (you still couldn’t walk across the lake). Lake Superior is up to 84.0%. Max ice this year may not come until the 2nd week of March. The earliest maximum ice since 1973 was on Jan. 15, 1999 and the latest was March 14, 2017. We could challenge that latest date this year.
Here’s a graph of maximum Great Lakes ice by year. The least was 11.9% in 2002 and the most was 94.7% in 1979 (after 3 cold winters in a row from 1976-79). We’ve had above average maximum ice cover in four of the last six years (including 2019). In recent decades, the highest water levels on the Great Lakes were in 1986-87 and the lowest levels were in 1964.
Here’s high temps. Wed. Note the cold air from Montana to Michigan and south to Kansas, also in New England. As long as it stays cold and relatively calm, we’ll continue to accumulate ice on the Great Lakes.
It was warm in Florida, along the Gulf Coast and it’s warmed back close to average in the Southwest. The warmest in the U.S. on Wed. was 90 at Falcon Lake TX and the coldest was -31 north of Rudyard MN. Significant rain Wed. in FL: 3.04″ Oldsmar, 2.83″ Clearwater, 2.32″ Tampa, 2.30″ Largo, 2.08″ W. Palm Beach, 1.24″ Sarasota, 1.15″ Ft. Myers. Also New Orleans had 2.43″ of rain and Sacramento had 1.24″.
Also – at 11 pm – Grayling was -17 and Rogers City (about 80 miles away) was +18. Clouds made the diifference. While we’re cold, Europe is warm. Why? Wildfire in England. Some good news. 7″ of new snow at Syracuse NY – still snowing. Does this look like a blue tornado? California getting lots of rain this winter. Amazing rainfall totals in central California. It has snowed every day in Jackson Hole, Wyoming this month with over a foot of new accumulation in the past 4 days alone. Similar conditions have been observed in nearby Big Sky, Montana, where 16″ of new snow has fallen. Squaw Valley in California has received a whopping 286″ of snow so far this February alone! And it’s still snowing! Heavy snow in Newfoundland. Heavy snow in Maine. Who’s chasing who? Cool weather pics. Florida sunset. Hail in Malta.