Similar ice pace to 2016, but thawing today & tomorrow - WNEM TV 5

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Similar ice pace to 2016, but thawing today & tomorrow

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After starting the month of December on a mild note with a few days in the 40s and 50s, the cold has really started to settle in around Mid-Michigan and with that, ice started showing itself on the Saginaw Bay and a few areas of the Great Lakes. 

Ice has also started showing itself on the Saginaw River, especially with a few days spent in the teens and low 20s to end last week. 

When checking out the current total ice coverage on the Great Lakes, courtesy of the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), we're actually off to a very similar start to 2016.  

As of the last observation on December 17th, the Great Lakes had 5.7% of total coverage, just a touch ahead of 2016's 3.8%. Below, you'll see the map comparison between the two years (not visible on the mobile app). 

2017

2016

Beyond a few minor differences, you can generally see the same general areas with ice coverage between the two years around this time. Is the ice coverage an eye opening number at this point? No. 

But it always seems to be this time of year where folks itching to get out on the ice, may go out a little too soon. And unfortunately, conditions won't be getting much better, at least for today and tomorrow for those wanting to get out there. 

Temperatures today and tomorrow are largely expected to be above freezing in the Lower Peninsula which begin to thaw things about a bit and melt some of the snow from last week's storm and Saturday morning's snow. 

Highs for Monday are expected to be mostly in the 30s, but Tuesday, we could see a few areas reach into the 40s, especially the farther south you go. Below, we've attached a look at the expected highs for tomorrow so you can see for yourself (not visible on mobile). 

So is there any cold air ahead after Tuesday? Yes, but briefly on Wednesday. Highs for Wednesday will be down in the 20s and low 30s, with a slight jump of a few degrees on Thursday. 

However, it looks like a developing storm system later in the week may bring highs to the 40s back into the region. For those not welcoming this news, just know that there is plenty of time for things to change. There is still some uncertainty to where this storm will ultimately track as models have been flip-flopping a bit. 

A track farther to the north and west will keep us mostly on the warm side of the system, but a pass to the south and east through the Ohio Valley would keep us on the cold side. Even with a milder solution, it appears cold air will move in behind that system, with 20s expected for highs on Christmas Eve and into next week. 

Bottom line? We'll likely thaw out a bit over the next few days, so make smart decisions when it comes to the ice. But also know there may be some colder air ahead for the second half of the weekend and next week. 

For those interested, the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory has an ice thickness forecast on their website that shows you ice thickness projections for the next 5 days. You can find that animation here: https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/anim.php?lake=h&param=icethk&type=f.

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