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 4, 2014. The blue areas show 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.