Ice Gone! An early thaw for the Great Lakes - WNEM TV 5

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Ice Gone! An early thaw for the Great Lakes

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Great Lakes temperatures on Thursday April 27, 2017. Great Lakes temperatures on Thursday April 27, 2017.
Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis from GLERL/NOAA. Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis from GLERL/NOAA.
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Spring was in full force as we entered the last full week of April, and with our warmer temps one of the main signs of winter, lake ice, has made its exit. As of Sunday, ice coverage on the Great Lakes was officially 0%.

An Early Thaw:

While we are starting to enter the time of the year where we should see the ice go away, we are still a little early for it to be at 0%. So early in fact that this year ranked in the top 20, coming in at the 11th earliest thaw in the last 45 years, according to the GLERL, the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, which is a part of NOAA, the same government organization that houses the National Weather Service. 

While this thaw was on the early side, the exact date of a complete thaw each year will vary, with ice usually lasting into late April or early May. The earliest complete thaw in the last 45 years was April 6, in 1987, and the latest was 2014, when we had some ice linger as late as June 4th. 2014 was also the year when the Lakes saw one of their deepest freezes, reaching a staggering 92.3% ice coverage. 

The last time the lakes were clear this early was 2012, when we were ice free on April 11th.

With the ice gone, and some water temperatures in the shallows already reaching into the 50s, we could be shaping up for a great summer on the Lakes! 

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