Lake Michigan's Thick Ice Actually A Benefit for Summer Fun

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by Michael Schlesinger

(Milwaukee)--No doubt it looks and feels like winter along the lake. Lake Michigan itself is 80% covered in ice, and the ice shelf extends 40 miles from the shore. But those who study the lake and live on it know good things will actually come from the current icy situation. The extreme ice will slow evaporation as we get into the spring months. The cooler water temperatures will do the same as well. It's estimated evaporation counts for half of Lake Michigan's water loss every year.

Higher water levels mean a safer surrounding for boats and freighters. In just the last year, the lake level has risen by a foot. We could see this kind of increase in the next year as well. Snowmelt will also contribute to the rise.

The entire Great Lakes are about 90 percent covered in ice. The boating season, in case you were wondering, normally runs from mid-April through late October.

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