If there's been at least one benefit to the bitter cold from the last few weeks, it's been the favorable conditions for all of the ice fisherman around Mid-Michigan. Shanties have lined the Saginaw River and the Saginaw Bay in recent days, with snowmobiles making their trek across the river too.

If you've been curious about how much ice coverage we've built up on the Great Lakes, we have that answer!

As of the last ice analysis on Sunday from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, the Great Lakes were just shy of 30% coverage, checking in at 29.5%. Just below, you can see that coverage map. Note: Image is not visible on the TV5 mobile app. Best viewed on desktop.

Of course, most of that ice on the larger lake has formed close to the shore, but it's a different story for Lake Erie. As of the last analysis, ice coverage there was near 90%. You can see that graph below. Note: Image is not visible on the TV5 mobile app. Best viewed on desktop.

The coverage of ice this year is outpacing January of 2017 by a wide margin. Early last year at this point, we only had 11% coverage. 2017's map is pictured below.

Mild Temperatures Return This Week

While the weather has been good for winter sport lovers, we all know the thaw is coming this week.

Temperatures today will definitely be more mild than we have been in the middle 30s, and we'll be a touch cooler on Tuesday, but the big change comes toward the middle of the week on Wednesday and Thursday.

Temperatures jump into low 40s on Wednesday and pushing 50 degrees in parts of the Lower Peninsula on Thursday. The colder temperatures return this Friday as temperatures start the day at midnight around 30 degrees, before falling through the day. The weekend features low 20s on Saturday, with highs in the teens returning on Sunday.

If you've been taking advantage of the ice the last few weeks, please keep safety in mind as temperatures warm up this week. As always, you can get your First Warn 5 7-Day Forecast 24/7 on wnem.com!

Copyright 2018 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Meteorologist

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