First, have you seen this video of the ice breaking away at Chicago yesterday afternoon. Someone(s) out there on the ice could have easily been trapped and floated away. This happens on occasion on Green Bay, Saginaw Bay and Lake Erie. The west wind gusted to over 30 mph at O’Hare Monday afternoon.
There was a big drop in Great Lakes ice extent on Monday. The Great Lakes as a whole dropped from 42.9% to 34.6%. Lake Michigan fell from 26.7% to 18.7%. This was mainly due to brisk winds breaking up the ice. We may have seen our greatest ice extent this winter at 45.8% on 2/19. Average highest ice extent is 53%.
The cold air that has covered much of the country over the past 3 weeks is gone and it’s been replaced by a warmer than average pattern. Look at the 70s today in Texas, Oklahoma and up into Kansas. We’ll be close to 40 in Michigan, so the snow will start melting. The temperature rose from 32 to 36 between 10 pm and midnight in Grand Rapids Monday evening.