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Great Lakes ice coverage has more than doubled in the last 8 days

Photos: U.S. Coast Guard Ships Break Ice in Great Lakes
Posted at 8:16 AM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 08:16:07-05

(WXYZ) — Ice coverage on the Great Lakes has been low after a relatively mild winter, but with the arctic air that has moved into Michigan over the last few days, it has more than doubled on all of the Great Lakes.

On Feb. 2, total ice coverage on all five of the Great Lakes was at 11.8%, below-average for this time of year.

As of Feb. 10, after several days of arctic air, the total ice coverage for all five Great Lakes is at 24.4%.

The breakdown by date and by lake is below.

Feb. 2

Lake Superior – 6.8%
Lake Michigan – 10.9%
Lake Huron – 20.8%
Lake Ontario – 4%
Lake Erie – 14.2%
Total - 11.8%

Feb. 10

Lake Superior – 12.2%
Lake Michigan – 17.7%
Lake Huron – 32.3%
Lake Ontario – 8.3%
Lake Erie – 77.1%
Total - 24.4%

Seasonal winter ice coverage on the Great Lakes is expected to be significantly below average for 2020-2021, according to the NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab.

As of Jan. 30, the GLERL predicts a maximum ice coverage of 30% on the Great Lakes. The average maximum ice coverage is 53.3%, according to the NOAA.

Those predictions can change, according to the NOAA. Each forecast iteration will take into account the latest surface-air temperature data, which drives ice formation. It has not yet been updated after the arctic air moved into the Great Lakes region.

"A lot can still happen as there are many weeks of winter left. Historically, much of the major freezing happens in February," the NOAA wrote.