Warmer Temps And Wind Decrease Great Lakes Ice Coverage

Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-22 21:01:38-05

WEST MICHIGAN (February 22, 2014) — With plenty of sunshine this past week and temperatures making the low/mid 40s, plus stiff winds and a fair amount of rain, ice coverage across the Great Lakes has decreased dramatically this week. Before Mother Nature threw a brief warm up our way, ice coverage across all five Great Lakes just last week reached almost 90 percent. After the big thaw and meltdown the past few days, it has dropped to only 69 percent!

It goes without saying that everyone should STAY OFF the ice…especially on the Great Lakes (Lake Michigan included). Ice coverage just on Lake Michigan has decreased this week almost a whopping 30 percent. What was covered almost to 70 percent…is currently at only 37 percent! See image below.

LM Ice

The attached high-resolution satellite image shows most/all of the ice along the Illinois/Wisconsin border is gone due to warmer temps and high winds that carried it out over the middle of the Lake where it basically melted. The only noticeable ice along the Lake Michigan shoreline remains up/down the Michigan coast since strong southwest/west winds the past three days packed it tightly in to shore. Again…please refrain from walking on it since cracks and thin spots have been reported from pilots and passengers flying overhead the past few days! See image below. Note that everything in blue is open water…the largest concentration over Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario. One of our FOX 17 viewers flew over the lake shore around Holland in a small plane about 4,500 off the ground. Her name is Amy DeMaagd. Click here to hear her story, what she saw, and see the photos!

Great Lakes Ice

Much of Lake Huron lost ice coverage as well…especially along the western/southwestern shore as strong winds pushed the ice further northeast/east (see high resolution photo attached to this story). We’ve got another Arctic blast coming in mid-week with temps only expected in the teens, but don’t think that will fix the ice. It will likely take weeks for ice concentration to climb significantly again, and frankly…it may be unlikely that we see it make 90 percent again this late in the season unless we see a prolonged time of well below normal temperatures. Get the complete West Michigan forecast at