Ice cover increases dramatically for Great Lakes

Weather

(WFRV) — Arctic air has blanketed the Midwest through most of February; as a result, ice coverage over the Great Lakes has increased rapidly.

Temperatures plummeted after a large cold front moved in Feb. 5. Since then, there have been 12 days with overnight lows below zero degrees in Green Bay, Wisconsin. At one point, there were 133 straight hours of wind chills below zero from Feb 5 to Feb 10.

Below are the ice concentration levels now compared to what we saw Feb 5 across all the Great Lakes. Notice across the board that each Great Lake has at least doubled in ice concentration:

Lake Michigan now stands at 30% compared to 11.2% only two weeks ago. Lake Superior went from 3.6% to 41.7% coverage in that same period.

The Great Lakes average ice cover has a whole is 40.1%, more than four times what is was on Feb 5. That puts ice coverage back on track to the near 40-year long-term average after being near record lows for the month of January. Ice coverage typically peaks during February.

Temperatures will rise to above freezing next week, which will affect ice coverage. Peak ice coverage may have been reached for the season once these temperatures kick in.

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