Great Lakes IceFebruary 9th, 2011 at 2:22 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
<–Great lakes ice cover and ice cover on Lake Erie (now at about 87%) and maximum ice cover on the Great Lakes in 1979. Images from GLERL – click to enlarge. Ice is accumulating on the Great Lakes. Lake Erie is the southernmost Great Lake, but usually gets the highest percentage of surface ice cover. That’s because Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes (avg. depth 62 ft.). Of course with 87% ice cover, it kind of puts a damper on any lake – effect snow. On Lake Michigan (avg. depth 279 ft.), much of Green Bay is frozen and there is ice from Beaver Is. to the shore. Ice is accumulating around the edges of the lake. Regarding the last picture, pilots told me there was always a little open water out over Lake Michigan. Also, the winters from 1976-79 were very cold and snowy. Climate maps that start in 1979 (like ice cover on the Great Lakes) would be starting at a low (cold) point, not an average point. By picking the starting and stopping points on a graph of something like temperature or ice cover, you can make the graph give an intended impression (see this blog entry: .http://blogs.woodtv.com/2011/01/25/january-temp-by-decade/). We’re going to be nearly seven degrees colder than average for Feb. 1-11. We’ll go warmer than average for next week, but that’s a lot to make up. We’re already a little below normal for Dec. and Jan. Texas shivers again today…four foot snow drifts in the Panhandle. Up to 14″ of snow in Kansas. I was checking season snowfall at ski areas out west, and they are remarkably good and similar: 366″ Kirkwood (CA), 356″ Timberline (OR), 346″ Snowbird (UT), 336″ Alyeska (AK), 336 Mammoth Mt. (CA), 332″ Alta (UT), 330″ Whistler-Blackcomb (BC – where the Olympics were held), 329″ Breckenridge (CO) 289″ Loveland, (CO).