Strong Winds Break Up Great Lakes Ice

February 22nd, 2014 at 8:53 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

modis lake michigan   modis lake erie  modis great lakes   modis lake ontario  modis lake superior modis lake huron muskegon glerlChicago glerlmichigan city glerlalpena glerl This is the most pictures I’ve ever tried to attach to a blog thread.  Click on the images to enlarge. These are the MODIS satellite pictures and the pictures from the GLERL cameras. The strong winds on Friday broke up a lot of ice on the Great Lakes. We had a gust to 60 mph in G.R. on Friday. We get a gust that high about every 3 years.    You can see that most of Lake Michigan is now open water, same for Lake Ontario.  There is now some open water in western Lake Erie and in both Lake Huron and Lake Superior. The GLERL pictures show open water and high clouds over Chicago.  Look closely at the Michigan City, Indiana picture and you can see Chicago in the distance.  You can also see the clearing to the north up across Wisconsin and Michigan.  The Alpena picture shows solid ice and clear skies after some snow last night.  The days are getting longer now at the rate of about 2 1/2 minutes a day.  We have now gained 1 hour and 54 minutes of daylight since the Winter Solstice back on   The sun is setting and rising farther north now.  In another month, the sun will rise due east and set due west.

Also, much needed rain coming to California.

Model Update:   Saturday night’s European has five nights below zero in G.R. with -2 Weds., -12 Fri., -8 Sat., -9 Sun., and -7 next Monday.  The GFS has only Fri. AM at -3 as the only below zero morning, but several others are in the single digits.   Neither model has any warm air in the next 10 days…the GFS goes out 16 days and it has a 2-4″ snow around 3/3 and a bigger storm 3/10 (too earl to put an stock in that).  We’ll see snow showers this week, but no big storms…most areas will get a couple inches…the big storm is the relentless cold to end Feb. and go into at least the first week of March.  If we get into a light wind pattern later this week, watch for the Great Lakes ice to start to reform.    Thru Sat. Grand Rapids is 7 deg. colder than average for Feb., Kalamazoo is 8 deg. colder than normal and Holland is 9 deg. colder than average.

97 Responses to “Strong Winds Break Up Great Lakes Ice”

  1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    Keep the GREAT news coming! More open water = more lake effect and lake enhanced SNOW!!! Bring it!

    1. Jerry says:

      Nope, cold but not much snow this week, Rocky. The 3/3 storm is looking weaker and by 3/10 the temps will be warming to make that storm a rain event. Sorry.

      1. Barb says:

        Good–since I’m flying out of here on the 3rd to some place warmer at least!

  2. What a bad end to such a great day. Someone I knows house burnt down today in the neighborhood I live it. I came out the front door to see black smoke in the air. I walked up the road to see the house engulfed in flames. I feel and pray for his family because I know them very well

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      I’m so sorry for your friends :-( My son had a small fire, and it took a long time to get everything back to “normal”.

      1. Me :-) says:

        I lost everything I had in a house fire 15 years ago. All my childhood pictures, my David bowie Collection (I even had a signed album), it is all gone. I feel sorry for the family. I hope they managed to save some of their personal belongings.

        1. Jevon Murphy (Chicago) says:

          Thoughts and prayers

  3. Jack says:

    I Love This One BILL !! Beautiful Colors in The Sky !! GOD IS GOOD!!!!

  4. GunLakeDeb says:

    It’s just amazing how much ice got moved in one storm!!!!!! Thanks for those pictures, Bill!

  5. Zach says:

    New Mesodiscussion for Indiana, IL and OH for Mixed Precip

  6. Holly says:

    No snow on the ground at all in the eastern thumb or in the Alpena area? I have a difficult time distinguishing between the different shades of purple on this map. Is this map usually accurate?

    1. Wswplz says:

      That map is not only hard to read but not accurate as there is still snow cover in the east-thumb, as this map shows. Many other snow-cover maps that are out there as well, just one example

      1. Wswplz says:

        Here is another map, hope the link works..

        1. Jack says:

          Thanks for the Link..wswplz….

        2. Holly says:

          Thank you for the links to better maps.

  7. INDY says:


    1. Jack says:


    2. Mark (East Lansing) says:


      1. Wayne (South of GR) says:

        wow is right, why do some people come on here and attack others.
        Really wish Bill would take control of his blog …..

        1. BigCountry(Wyoming, MI) says:

          Tom “attacks” Indy and Rocky just as much as the others do him. So you want Bill to “take control” as in, squash one sides voice? How progressive of you.

  8. TACO BOY says:


    1. Mark (East Lansing) says:


    2. Lisa (Caledonia) says:

      Doesn’t posting drunk ever get old? :/

  9. DJ2450 (Central Gratiot) says:

    As I dug through 17″ of snow to open a water drain I found history. Looking at the side view of the 17″ of snow I could see the individual layers of snow that had fallen. Since we have not had a major melt down the entire season was visible. The first 2″ above the ground was hard packed crusty snow that would be the snowfall leading up to the January thaw. On top of that there was about 1″ of ice and that would be the January rain and thaw. Above that there were several layers ranging from about .5″ thick to as much as 3″ thick. You could easily see we have had 3 larger snow events and about 7 smaller events. We don’t get much lake effect here mostly synoptic snow. With all of the lake effect I don’t know if the individual layers would show near the lakeshore.

    1. Lisa (Caledonia) says:

      That’s really cool. :)

      1. DJ2450 (Central Gratiot) says:

        I found it surprisingly interesting. I’m going back out there today and actually take samples of the different layers of snow and really check it out. I will post what I learn here this evening. If you’re interested check back.

    2. BigCountry(Wyoming, MI) says:

      I’ve noticed the same thing a month ago here on my deck that I shovel one pass through. My ice line is down a few inches from the ground but that’s from the December ice storm for down here.

      1. DJ2450 (Central Gratiot) says:

        We got the December ice as well. I will look for it today under the January thaw layer.

    3. GunLakeDeb says:

      Snow Geologist!! There’s a good title for you!!

    4. DJ2450 (Central Gratiot) says:

      I checked out the snow layers some more. I noticed dark particles on top of 1 thicker layer of snow that the others thick layers didn’t have. I assume that snowfall laid exposed longer collecting the dark particles before the next snow fell.

      I also think I found lake effect snow layers. On several occasion this year we have received LE here. Not much, usually 2″ or less. I found several layers around 0.10″ thick that were lighter in color and were not as crystallized as the thicker layers. I assume these were light lake effect snowfalls.

      I looked for the freezing rain event that came in December. I couldn’t find it. I think it’s likely mixed near the bottom with the January thaw and rain.

  10. Dan says:

    Cold and record cold is on tap. Then, a couple of snows for early March! I’m saying 2 or 3 big snows befpre we make the transition to spring!

    1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      + one Trillion! ROCK ON!

  11. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    All mid and short range models show COLD, COLD, COLD and SNOW, SNOW, SNOW! Warm weather nuts used need to get used to it! March is going to be wild – well below average temps and above average SNOWFALL! How could it get any better than that?

    1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      Considering 30 to low 30s are considered below average, that’s fine with me.

  12. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    I am headed up to BOYNE country to test out the 12 inches of fresh white powder! Hey hey, my my, ROCK n ROLL will never die baby! We could use a big SNOWSTORM right about now! Who knew?

    1. Nathan (Forest Hills) says:

      Rocky are you a professional or something? Or is it just for fun?

      1. Mark (East Lansing) says:


      2. Rocky (Rockford) says:

        A professional winter sports enthusiast baby! I love COLD and SNOW and I love downhill skiing, cross county skiing and snowmobiling! Bring on the next SNOWSTORM! The trails are calling my name – latter people!!

      3. Rodey (Rockford) says:

        Yes, he is a professional troll. He loves the snow and cold so much he spends 16 hours a day on the blog talking about how much he loves to be out in the snow and cold. Who knew. Fantastic. I love it. Thanks for listening.

        1. Julie says:

          LOL, I was thinking that the other day when reading this blog. If he loves the snow so much why does he spend so much time posting here.

          Alas, I am on maybe once a week as we’ve been spending time outside trying to avoid the next catastrophe on the farm due to so much snow.

        2. BigCountry(Wyoming, MI) says:

          If he is a professional troll, what would you consider yourself? I’ll be the first one to admit that he gets annoying but I just ignore it. At least he posts weather related links sometimes and actually talks about weather. You just talk about how dumb people are and never a single thing weather related. Pot, kettle..kettle, pot

        3. John (Norton Shores) says:

          Your not any better Rodey, and quite frankly I think your worse than him because you always call people out, call them names and try to make others feel bad, if I had to guess your probably a bully in real life.

        4. Rodey (Rockford) says:

          That’s pretty funny. Open your eyes and see who I call out and I’ve never called anyone dumb. A jackass yes, but dumb, no. Oh, and thanks for listening and commenting. I love it. Fantastic.

        5. John (Norton Shores) says:

          Did I say you called anyone dumb? and jackass is the same thing as dumb, you lack in intelligence, but I’m not going to go any farther into this conversation, I’m just saying maybe you should try being nicer to people on this blog, *TRY*

  13. Mark (East Lansing) says:

    For the record, Flint did NOT reach 36 yesterday. Just reinforces the fact that you cannot believe everything posted here. Who knew??

    1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      You certainty can’t believe a word that warm weather nut Travis posts. He has a serious global warming sickness that this has a big effect on his brain! It will well below average temperatures in March, however according to Travis it will be SEASONAL in Flint! What a joke! He is delusional!

  14. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    One more map for your viewing pleasure before I hit the road! SNOW, SNOW, SNOW!

    1. Ben says:

      Most of that is the March 3 snow. It has been on the gfs for so long!

  15. INDY says:


  16. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    It’s a cold but sunny day here today! The temp here is now at 23° with that sun. We will have to wait and see just how cold this next week becomes. If we have more clear skies then the temps during the day may a little warmer but if we are clear and can go calm at night then the temps can get real cold yet. One item of note now is with the wind Friday and the ice breaking up and moving around on lake Michigan one has to wonder how much of the “warmer” water from the bottom of the lake was brought up to the surface (water temp near the bottom is around 39°) so if the other conditions are right then lake effect could be back in play.

    1. BigCountry(Wyoming, MI) says:

      Good write up Slim. I was pretty surprised to see how much the ice was broken up on Lake Michigan, and shocked to see that even Lake Superior had broken up quite a bit, I would have thought with it being almost completely frozen, the wind would have very little impact on it. We shall see what the impacts are on us land dwellers.

  17. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    Any body want to take a guess as to when the snow will melt? At this time my guess is for most of the snow to be gone by March 23 but the big parking lot piles to be around until April 12 (both dates subject to change) Anyone else have any guesses?

    1. Dan says:

      I’m going with first week in April for all the snow to melt. Depends how March goes.

    2. GunLakeDeb says:

      LOL!!! I’ve already posted a June 9th date for the last snowpiles demise ;-)

    3. Katie in Kentwood says:

      July 4th is my guess!!

    4. mr. negative says:

      Snow cover May 30 – Snow mountains June 26.

    5. Barb says:

      I’m going to say early June before the really BIG snow piles melt. I’ve got a golden snow shovel riding on it.

  18. Dan says:

    Dont know how many people this would apply to. Please heed the warnings about going out on to the ice especially by Grand Haven pier! Sounds very dangerous there!

  19. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    And when we get into March we will be open for the first +50° and then the first +60° days but we may have to wait until April or May for the first +70° day. (I hope not) but that may be the case this year.

    1. DJ2450 (Central Gratiot) says:

      Been a long time since we haven’t seen at least one 70 in March. At least here inland. Maybe this year it will hold off until April but I really doubt it will take until May.

      1. dereks says:

        It’s only been about 3 years since we were in the upper 80′s in March.

        1. dereks says:

          My boys were playing in the sprinkler and I was watching March madness outdoors because it was so nice.

        2. dereks says:

          My bad I read your comment wrong.

        3. DJ2450 (Central Gratiot) says:

          That’s okay and you’re right. We did have some 80′s in March.

      2. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

        Last year (2013) GR did not have its first 60+ day until April 15th and did not have its first 70+ day until April 27th

  20. Dan says:

    Jack a song request for you. Bloody Well Right, Supertramp. Seems fitting!

    1. Jack says:

      You Got it DAN…..CUE::: Yellow Brick Road Reunion – Bloody Well Right (Supertramp …
      ► 4:26► 4:26
      Stay Cued………

  21. Dan says:

    Jack its going to be a big victory for Blue today! Go Blue. They will have to run their offense through somebody other than Staukas. Gary Harris will be all over him. Perhaps it’ll. be GR 3!

    1. Cupcake says:


  22. Nathan (Forest Hills) says:

    It is definitely a beautiful day today with the abundant sunshine! Im thinking that lake effect snow chances next week will increase a little more than expected because the lake ice has broken up… but we will see. At least light lake effect looks possible.

    1. mk says:

      Let’s hope we get clobberd! We sure could use it, heck its almost gone!

  23. Dan says:

    That is exactly what Slim posted. Well not exactly more like are all the conditions back in place for LES to be a major player? Could be! I know the arctic blast will be reinforced as the week goes on. The cold air will be reinforced is what I should say. While it may look the spring, we have some Winter left to go!

    1. mk says:

      Great bring it!! This winter has been lame to this point.

  24. Tyler says:

    I remember big snow piles lasting in Green Bay two hours south of us until May 9th. I was down there for the weekend and in the mall parking lot there were still some piles left. This was May of 2011 and the year I think GB got 93 inches of seasonal snowfall. Still seeing their snow last tell that long was crazy.

    1. mk says:

      I hope are snow piles stick around til Nov. Sound good Dan, Rockey?

  25. Dan says:

    Possible BIG snows showing up on the 3rd and the 10th ! Cue up “Happy” by Pharrel!

    1. mk says:

      Best news ever snow!! Snow!! A rocky Dan dream bring it!!!

  26. Dan says:

    Thanks Jack! Appreciate you spinning the tunes on the weather blog! Have a great day brother! Intense game!

  27. OneMom says:

    What effect has all the wind had on the ice caves at the Apostle Islands? Would seem the ice on Lake Superior would be quite unstable to risk a 2 mile walk out to the caves.

  28. Wswplz says:

    As a few people have hinted to with regards to possible lake effect, and now that some of the unknowns about what the wind / warm weather has done to much of the ice cover on our lake coupled with some warmer water now at the surface I think we have a really good chance of seeing a headline event if not this week, then soon. IMHO I’ve seen similar scenarios play out earlier in the year, as they pertain to a seemingly quite period / little lake effect accumulation in the forecast only to be surprised by more snow then expected. With this said I’m aware for this to happen a few things would need to tilt in our favor: uptick in the DGZ, temps this week to be more closely to that of the GFS, and of course favorable winds. All in all I think we may just be in for a surprise this week from the good old rebuilt snow machine. :)

    1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      I don’t know about a lot of lake effect but it could be a player in the next week or so.

    2. mk says:

      Be satisfied with this over abundance of snow, you all sound so silly!

    3. Wswplz says:

      Arctic air plunges across the Great Lakes after one of the warmest winters on record. The above normal water temperatures contribute to heavy lake effect snow squalls that produce blizzard conditions. From 8 to 12 inches of snow is piled into deep drifts by winds gusting over 40 mph.
      -( of corse our winter has been cold / but warmer lake)
      Arctic air pours into Lower Michigan in the wake of a snowstorm and lake effect snows pile up over a foot across western Lower Michigan. The 12 inches of snow at Muskegon makes this the snowiest April day on record there.
      -( interesting history, could still see LES to come )

  29. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    Last year (2013) GR did not have its first 60+ day until April 15th and did not have its first 70+ day until April 27th
    Other years going back to 1991 that GR did not reach 60 or better in March and the day we did reach our first 60 and 70 and 80° days BTW GR reached it first 80° last year (2013) on May 1st
    March 2008 April 1st first 60 April 11th first 70 and April 25th first 80+
    March 2002 April 10th 1st 60+ April 11 first 70+ April 15th first 80+
    March 2001 April 5th 60+ April 7th first 70+ April 30th first 80+
    March 1992 April 6th first 60+ April 19 1st 70+
    So in another week the race will be on for when we well reach the first 50, 60, 70 and 80° days. Just something to think about waiting for spring this year.

    1. Wswplz says:

      Let’s hope we don’t achieve any of those temps in our near future as our current conditions are prone to flooding, and if pray we don’t repeat history! But as you mentioned Slim, those temps will come, and not a question of if but when. Let’s hope it moderates nice and slow…

      After heavy snow in February, heavy rains and warmer conditions set in, setting the stage for a disastrous flood. The Kalamazoo River flooded the town of Albion when the Homer Dam broke around 3 p.m. By midnight, the bridges surrounding town were underwater. Six buildings in Albion collapsed.

      1. mk says:

        You want all the snow in the world, to heck with people struggling. Now you worry about flooding? No reasoning at all

  30. Dan says:

    Big win by big Blue! WOW! I cannot wait for March madness! Snow storm during March madness?

    1. Jack says:

      True Dat….DAN….stay Cued…

    2. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      I’m so glad Belein has made Michigan basketball respectable again. It’s good for the state and it’s good for the B1G.

  31. Wswplz says:

    We have a good chance of setting another record for this winter towards the end of the week, with probably are best chances being 1.Friday and 2. Saturday. Record low: -2 and 16 high. Record low: -2 and high 22. Values = lowest min and lowest maximum

    1. Wswplz says:

      * high 21 Fri. / 16 high Sat. Sorry..

  32. Dikehopper (Fennville) says:

    I do like the four seasons, but right about now these scenes looks mighty good to me. (Plus, I snuck in a very nice medley.)

    RIP, Israel Kamakawiwo`Ole.

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