Very little ice coverage on the Great Lakes - WNEM TV 5

Very little ice coverage on the Great Lakes

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No doubt it was a warm February, record breaking in fact. Saginaw saw its warmest February on record and Flint saw their second warmest February on record. Flint missed the mark for warmest February by a tenth of a degree.

Well those warm temps have had an effect on the lakes! As of yesterday (03/01/2017) the Great Lakes had only 5.2 percent ice coverage. Average ice coverage for this time of the year is about 43 percent.

The entire winter season has been above average in regards to temperatures. We have seen some cold snaps, but they were overshadowed by bigger and longer warm stretches. It appears this winter was even milder than last year.

2016 was also a warm winter, but this time last year the lakes had 10.5 percent ice. In 2015, a colder winter, there was 88.3 percent ice coverage.

The lack of ice is not only an inconvenience to ice fishers, but a lake with such little ice leaves Michigan open for the potential for more lake-effect snow and more thunderstorms.

In spring if we see thunderstorms move toward Michigan they are often suffocated when they move over the partially frozen lakes. That will not be the case this year as there is almost no ice. This does not guarantee us to see more thunderstorms this year, but it is a possibility.

While we are seeing colder temps today and tomorrow the cold snap ends this weekend and warm temps return next week. This year it looks like more Michigander’s will be taking the boat out earlier this year. 

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