Most of Great Lakes covered in ice; how long will it last?

An aerial photo of ice coverage on Lake Michigan near Holland.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The recent cold wave accompanied with a relatively light wind has led to a significant increase in the levels of ice across the Great Lakes.

Michigan has recorded twelve consecutive days with temperatures that have been below average. This month, temperatures in Grand Rapids have been running six degrees below average, around seven degrees below average in Milwaukee and eight below average in Chicago.

Map: Month to date temperatures through Feb. 11 across the country.

The cold air combined with a relatively weak wind has led to explosive ice growth across the Great Lakes.

In the beginning of February, there was 22.6 percent ice coverage. As of Feb. 11, ice covered 69.1 percent of the Great Lakes. It’s the second highest ice coverage percentage for Feb. 11 in the past 24 years.

Graph: Ice levels on the Great Lakes

Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Kyle Underwood has shared fantastic photos of the Lake Michigan ice coverage on Twitter. You can follow him at @wx8 for more cool photos.

Photo: An aerial view of Lake Michigan.

On Feb.12, it was the clearest day across the Great Lakes region since Jan. 20 with a recorded 91 percent sunshine. It allowed the Modis satellite, which around 22,000 miles above Earth, to take amazing pictures of the ice, snow and clouds.

Photo: A satellite photo of the Great Lakes.
Photo: A satellite photo of Michigan.

As of Feb. 12, Lake Michigan is at 51.3 percent ice coverage which is approximately 11,300-square miles of water.

Map: Lake Michigan ice coverage as of Feb. 12, 2018.

Lake Michigan is the only Great Lake to see explosive growth of ice. Lake Erie is nearly completely covered with 90.7 percent ice coverage. Ice is covering 81.3 percent of Lake Huron, 77.1 percent of Lake Superior and 15.3 percent of Lake Ontario.

Map: Great Lakes ice coverage as of Feb. 12, 2018.

Has ice coverage peaked for the rest of the year? With warmer temperatures and more wind in the forecast, it may break up the ice. Check back with and tune into 24 Hour News 8 for updates.

Graph: High temperature through Tuesday Feb. 20.


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