Lake Michigan Ice Increasing

February 27th, 2014 at 12:45 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

modis lake michigan   lake michigan ice COASTWATCH  Lake Michigan Kyle lakeshore 2 26 14  Click on the images to enlarge.  The picture on the left is the MODIS satellite picture from Weds. PM.  Note the ice that has reformed east of Wisconsin and Illinois.  You can see where the lake-effect clouds are forming, fairly close to the Michigan shore.  It’s sunny in SE Wisconsin and NE Illinois.  You can see some high clouds crossing central and northern Lake Michigan.   Now look at the picture on the right, taken at the Grand Haven beach at sunset just a couple hours after .  You can see the sun shining underneath the lake-effect clouds.   The graph in the middle is the record of the percent of ice cover on Lake Michigan this winter (from NOAA/COASTWATCH).  It’s not a steady climb, it’s a “jerky” graph.  Ice forms on the lake and then strong winds break it apart.  The strong winds of last Friday broke up most of the ice on Lake Michigan, a truly extraordinary event to see the ice cover on the lake go from around 80% all the way down to 30% and now back up above 50%.  With the cold that’s coming over the next week, we could very well see the ice cover get back to 70-80% coverage!  Here’s current total Great Lakes ice coverage (77.3% as I write this).   Specific Great Lakes ice coverage for 2/26:  Superior 94.4%, Michigan 52.0%, Huron 92.8%, Erie 93.9%, Ontario 11.3%.

51 Responses to “Lake Michigan Ice Increasing”

  1. Bobby (Ada) says:


    1. Jack says:

      Ha, You Win what’s Behind DOOR # 3 , Jimmy Buffet Song Lyrics HERE:::: Oh I took a wrong turn, it was the right turn
      My turn to have me a ball
      Boys at the shop told me just where to stop
      If I wanted to play for it all
      I didn’t know I’d find her on daytime TV
      My whole world lies waiting behind door number three

      I chose my apparel, wore a beer barrel
      And they rolled me to the very first row
      I held a big sign that said “Kiss me I’m a baker,
      and Monty I sure need the dough!”
      Then I grabbed that sucker by the throat
      Until he called on me
      Cause my whole world lies waiting behind door number three

      And I don’t want what Jay’s got on his table
      Or the box Carol Merrill points to on the floor
      No, I’ll hold out just as long as I am able
      Until I can unlock that lucky door
      Well, she’s no big deal to most folks
      But she’s everything to me
      Cause my whole world lies waiting behind door number three

      Oh Monty, Monty, Monty, I am walking down your hall
      God be, I lost my seat but I’m not a man to crawl
      No I didn’t get rich you son of a bitch
      I’ll be back just wait and see
      Cause my whole world lies waiting behind door number three
      Yes my whole world lies waiting behind door number three

      1. Wswplz says:

        Good old Jimmy, saw him in CA..good stuff Jack. Bill you think these heavy bands will hold up into the commute, or just light snow on the backside with the NW winds, curious as I will be heading down 131 to Wyoming from Cedar.

        1. Bill Steffen says:

          The snow bands will weaken into mostly flurries and a just a few scattered heavier snow showers. Drifting will still be an issue thru mid-afternoon.

        2. Wswplz says:

          Thanks Bill, as I just got back home for lunch and conditions were just as you thought they would be. :)

  2. Terri Herbstreith says:

    I have some photos I took at Grand Haven the last few weeks and wanted to know where I could share them? That is if you ate interested.

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      Yes! You can send them to us at ReportIt at or in an email to me at

      1. Tim from Zeeland says:

        I understand the fact that there is less ice covering the BIG Lake, but does that mean there is less ice in the lake? The winds help blow, break up and push the ice, but does it just mean it is building up and becoming thicker?

  3. Jim says:

    Well, the NWS did not do a good job with the forecast for overnight. I left Bolingbrook, IL (midnight) and headed back to Kzoo. I had checked the forecast before I hit the road and they were calling for about 2″ of snow west of 131.

    Well, that was not what I experienced at all. The only part of their forecast that they got right was the strong winds. Light snow with a dusting on 94 from Stevensville to Lawrence, road was not bad at all. Wind was brutal!

    Made it halfway between Lawrence and Decatur and it was like being in a blizzard. Snow was coming down hard, whiteouts were very frequent and I could not see past the hood of my truck. I had slowed to 30 mph with my flashers on, but yet those “super truckers” were driving like it was a summer’s day.

    Just before I made Decatur, a Werner truck decided to pass me (I drive a semi by the way) and just as he got next to me, we both drove into a complete whiteout. He swerved towards me and came within 6″ of taking out the left side of my truck. I had a few choice words for him after that. I continued to travel at 30 mph (hell, that was still too fast for I couldn’t see the road) and I got off the highway at Paw Paw.

    I took Red Arrow all the way to Kzoo going no more than 30 mph. Still couldn’t see further than my low beams and at times, I couldn’t even see the road.

    Paw Paw had at least 5″ on the ground when I got off the highway and I cleared 4″ off my van when I got back to town.

    I think the NWS needs to readjust their snow fall totals. Less the 2″ is a joke since eastern Van Buren as at least double that when I went through.

    Nothing I hate more is not being able to see when I drive and the wind was not helping by blowing me all over the road.

  4. Nathan (Forest Hills) says:

    How affective is salt in these temperatures? It seems like the city wouldn’t even use salt because it would be so ineffective and take up more of the city budget.

    1. DJ2450 (Central Gratiot) says:

      GR road commission just reported on news 8 that no salt now too cold. Road surface temp. is 3 degrees. They said, later today they may use a salt/sand mixture.

  5. INDY says:


  6. Julie says:

    How can it increase with the wind? I thought the wind trumped the temps?

  7. Michael g (se GR) says:

    Down to 8* already here after an overnight “high” of 17*. A couple of weeks ago I asked about the models “it can’t really get that cold, that late, can it?” The answer is obviously an emphatic yes. Will be interesting to see if we can get our coldest night of a frigid winter on the morning before meteorological spring begins!

    1. TomKap (GR-Michigan & Fuller) says:


      1. yooper4021 says:

        Thanks for that insight on the weather

    2. DF (SE Mich) says:

      Yep, the lows tonight will rival all the other cold out breaks and we’re one day away from March… crazy.

  8. Michael g (se GR) says:

    Brief heavy snow and very strong winds as that squall line moved through. Easily 40+ mph. Literally couldn’t see the house across the street for a minute or two. Visibility was under 150 feet. Dig it Tommy.

  9. Flikk says:

    “Mostly flurries” Bill? Mostly white out on my 0545 commute to Kentwood…….30 MPH on most of the ride on 96

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      During the day mostly flurries in most areas…I go to 18 counties.

  10. fixxxer says:

    as of now it look to be cold right into april, this sucks.

  11. DJ2450 (Central Gratiot) says:

    Since 12/1 here at my location we have had more nights below 0 than we have had days above freezing. Currently according to my records there has been 18 days below zero with only 13 days above freezing.

  12. fixxxer says:

    If it weren’t for this persistent damn lake effect it would be sunny out. I hate it here sometimes. Can’t we get one week of sun and at least average temps?

    1. Michael g (se GR) says:

      You hate it here all the time. The only reasonable explanation is that you must love hating it, or else you’d move.

  13. Jim S (Saugatuck Twp) says:

    Snow has been worse here this morning than it was last night.

  14. Michael g (se GR) says:

    NWSSays we’ve moved into second place all time for season snowfall. Must have had more last night than I realized. GR did have three straight hourly reports of heavy snow with 1/4 mile visibility.

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      Nice! Now can Detroit and GR break the all time records?

  15. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    The temp here looks to have bottomed out here at +4° and is now up to +6° but it’s a very cold +6 as its windy and that wind is brutal!! I can not tell how much new snow fell here last night but there was anywhere from 0 to 5” in the driveway.
    As of now its looks like for our area it going it be just very cold with some light snow over the next few days as more snow fall to our south and south east.

  16. Mark (East Lansing) says:

    Visibility driving into work was maybe 150 feet. The worst I’ve seen this season.

    1. DJ2450 (Central Gratiot) says:

      You must have been driving to work when the squal line hit you’re area that passed through here earlier. When that came through the wind gust were 40 mph and the snow came down hard. Sunny and cold here now.

      1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

        Must have. It was incredible. It’s clearing up now.

        1. DJ2450 (Central Gratiot) says:

          Maybe 20 below inland tonight.

        2. Mark (East Lansing) says:

          Sure, why not? :-)

          This has been the coldest and one of the snowiest winters I can remember.

  17. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    It looks like GR will tie 2nd place record low maximum temp for February 27 today as the high today should be +17° and. 17° is the current 2nd place coldest low maximum for GR and that was last set in 1934 the coldest maximum for today is +9 set in 1925. And GR has a very good chance of setting the record low maximum for tomorrow as the current record low maximum for February 28 is 21° set 1912 and 1900!
    Now for record lows. The coldest it has gotten “officially” in GR for February 27 is -12° in 1994 and in 2nd place its -7° in 1950 and 3rd place is -5° in 1993 and after midnight (February 27th) the record low is -2° set in 1970 and in 2nd place its -1° set in 1994 and in 3rd place its +5° 1962 and when we get to March1st the record lows are -5°, -4° and -2° so we have a good chance of setting several record low temps in the next couple of day. More history in the making.

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      Thanks for the stats.

      1. DJ2450 (Central Gratiot) says:


    2. DF (SE Mich) says:

      Marquette’s high is so far 0° for today, which was at midnight… down to -8° now.

      1. DJ2450 (Central Gratiot) says:

        Incredible!!! We’re setting at 5 now down from 14 at 4:30 am. Everywhere north of us is below 0 so I doubt we’ll get much warmer.

      2. GunLakeDeb says:

        DF – I’m not sure that it ever got above zero all day yesterday for us? It was zero when I left for work – and zero when I got home around 4 PM. Today looks the same…. I’ll be sure to take a picture of my thermometer in the morning if it beats my earlier -20 picture…LOL!

  18. Imthemom (just n holland) says:

    Just back from the barn. Was able to be supported by the wind while leaning forward. 240lbs now. Would’nt that be close to hurricane speed? :) Good call on canceling school here.

  19. Byron Center used a 2-hour delay today, which was a pretty good call in this area. As much as a closing would have been nice, it would been kind of a waste. They have actually made some improvement here in Kent County on the roads

  20. GunLakeDeb says:

    I’m killing time – I blew the 2.5″ of snow out of the driveway – now waiting for the snowplow to fill in the end again…LOL!! Bitter wind chill – the air temp is zero. My front yard (facing the lake) has 2′ snowdrifts – I’m not going to try to shovel the deck until the wind dies down.

    BUT: I just saw this picture comparing a reservoir in California, from its water level in 2011 to now – terrifying!!!

    Shoveling snow is a *bleep!* – but even at its worst – it’s a 4-month period of misery. California’s drought is going to last a long, long time.

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      LOL, sucks to live in the desert! Hopefully our Arizona troll sees that.

      I agree that it is absolutely brutal out today.

    2. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      Those photos are (horribly) amazing.

  21. GunLakeDeb says:

    And a beekeeping friend of mine reports that her hives are dead :-( I didn’t realize the bees spend the winter “vibrating” to stay warm (while consuming honey for energy) and she said she left them ample honey – but it was just too cold. I have to believe if her bees didn’t make it – a lot of others didn’t, also.

    RIP, bees :-(

    1. Brenda (Otsego) says:

      Our neighbors have bees, including 2 hives on our property. Haven’t heard the status of hers yet.

      1. GunLakeDeb says:

        The poor farmers can’t get a break – 2 years ago, the frost killed the crops – now there might not be many bees to pollinate things. Granted, the beekeepers can buy more bees – but with all this cold – I’m guessing there might be a shortage of bees?

  22. Jim says:

    Beautiful out right now in Walker. Missed my turn off this morning, as I could not see where I was. Turned around and was in the left hand turn lane or was it oncoming traffic lane? I will never know, I think I got lucky. The guy ahead of me was totally on the wrong side of the road. 80 degrees will be here soon. Right?

  23. shelbyville says:

    Anyone else checking out the models for the next week or so?
    It looks like one system after another, with a big mess next Saturday.

  24. Psalmon says:

    The rate of ice over in one day for Lake Michigan between 2/27 and 2/28 has to be some kind of record, no?

    One day it was open water, all blown apart by the wind and according to the CIS it is almost 100%.


Leave a Reply