‘Historic winter’: Great Lakes record ice cover spreading rapidly

Lake Superior sets new ice-cover record


Total Great Lakes ice cover is “soaring,” says meteorologist Mark Torregrossa. “It is going to be close, but we may be living in a historic winter with regards to amount of Great Lakes ice.”

Satellite image shows a broad view of Great Lakes ice. Image courtesy of NASA

Lake Superior is now 92 percent frozen, toppling a 20-year-old record of 91 percent set on Feb. 5, 1994. That statistic helped total Great Lakes ice cover soar, and we can expect to see more form in coming days.
The air temperatures this past week averaged around five degrees below normal for the Great Lakes area.
As of February 5, 2014, the entire Great Lakes system is now reportedly covered 77 percent with ice, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.
Let’s look at each individual lake.
Lake Superior – Almost frozen over (92 percent covered with ice).
Lake Michigan – Now 51 percent covered with ice. Coyotes were seen walking on the ice just offshore of Chicago this week. This makes us wonder if the lakes freeze over totally, will animals from Canada be able to cross over Lake Huron or Lake Superior, and enter Michigan.
Lake Huron – Ice cover rocketed up an additional 14 percent this week, climbing to a total ice cover of 86 percent. At that rate, Lake Huron could be almost frozen over, or frozen over by the end of next week.
Lake Erie – The shallowest of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie has an average depth of 62 feet and a maximum depth of 210 feet. It also has the least volume of any Great Lake, with 116 cubic miles of water. So it should come as no surprise that Lake Erie is 96 percent covered with ice.
Lake Ontario – Although Lake Ontario is the smallest Great Lake when it comes to surface area, its  average depth of 283 feet makes it the second deepest Great Lake behind Lake Superior. Lake Ontario actually holds more than three times the amount of water when compared to Lake Erie. Lake Ontario is only 32 percent covered in ice.
Will ice continue to grow?
The ice cover should continue to grow at a rapid rate based on temperatures expected in the next few weeks.
It is going to be close, but we may be living in a historic winter with regards to amount of Great Lakes ice.
See entire article, along with photos of individual lakes
Thanks to @nhsnowfan for this link
Mark Torregrossa has been the chief meteorologist for three television news stations in Michigan. A resident of the state for 20 years, he has also gardened since the age of ten and is an avid hunter. Email him at [email protected] and find him on Facebook at facebook.com/mark.torregrossa and Twitter@weathermanmark

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