Environment & Science
3:11 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Great Lakes ice levels approaching record set in 1979

The last time I posted on this (on Feb. 26), the ice levels on the Great Lakes had dropped off.

There had been a slight warm-up and some strong winds that had opened up the water.

But it's been cold since then, and the ice levels have increased on the Great Lakes. Here's a graphic showing you where the ice levels stand as of yesterday. The blue areas show the open water:

Great Lakes ice levels as of March 4th, 2014. The blue areas show open water.
Credit NOAA

As I mentioned in my previous post, ice formation on the lakes is dynamic – constantly changing.

Here are the ice totals for each lake as of yesterday:

  1. Lake Erie - 96%
  2. Lake Huron - 96%
  3. Lake Superior - 95%
  4. Lake Michigan - 92%
  5. Lake Ontario - 43%

Lake Michigan jumped from 53% ice covered in late February to 92% today. So if the cold weather stays, and it looks like it will hang around, we might, yet again, set a new cold-weather record.

Total Great Lakes ice coverage is at 91% now. The record is 94.7% set back in 1979. We'll be watching.