Lake Michigan Ice Cover

Much of Lake Michigan is still ice free and we're past the half-way mark of our winter.  That means longer days, with potentially more sunshine to heat surfaces and gradually increasing temperatures.  But does that mean the lake will stay wide open? Does the lake completely freeze over every winter? While looking into ice cover on the Great Lakes I came across this interesting comparison of ice cover this year versus last year from the National Weather Service office in Green Bay.

Check it out:

So what's an average amount of ice on the Great Lakes during the winter season?  Here's a nice graph that shows ice cover on all fives lakes collectively since the early 70's.


If you clicked on the first link, then you read that Lake Michigan's current ice coverage is just over twenty percent, less than half of what we had for ice cover the previous winter. Last winter was quite cold and resulted in one of the top years for ice cover on the lake, no surprise right?!  I also found it interesting that around this time last year the lake was at about forty-three percent ice cover. That means the later part of winter saw much of the growing ice on the lake.  On average, experts say ice coverage peaks in March. So even as days get longer and temps slowly inch up, more icing can be expected.

As it looks now, the forecast will likely feature temperatures most days staying below the freezing mark the next week to two weeks. That will lead to more icing. At least for now.

I'm meteorologist Rebecca Schuld


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