Final Map of Maximum Ice on the Great Lakes 2014March 8th, 2014 at 2:14 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, News, Weather
Click on the image to enlarge or click here. This graphic from GLERL (NOAA) shows the maximum ice reached on the Great Lakes for 2014, which was Thursday, March 6 and compares it to the highest ice extent in 1994 (on Feb. 14) and in 1979 (on Feb. 19). Lake Michigan peaked on Wednesday (March 5th) at 92.19%. The record ice coverage on Lake Michigan was 93.1% in 1977 – so we missed it by less than 1%. Records go back to the mid 1970s. I had pilots tell me that in those cold winters of the late 1970s, we always still had small stretches of open water on Lake Michigan. I have also heard pilots said the same thing in the cold winter of 1936. The depth of the lake plays a significant part in the ability of the cold air to generate an ice cover. Lake Erie is the southernmost Great Lake, but also the shallowest, so it often has the highest percentage of ice cover. Lake Ontario often has the least percent of ice cover. Look at this MODIS picture of Lake Ontario taken Friday, March 7. What’s interesting is that two of New York’s Finger Lakes still have open water! These are deep lakes. Seneca Lake (on the left in the satellite picture) is 618 feet deep at it’s deepest point and Cayuga Lake on the right is 435 feet deep (there is some ice at the north end of the lake). Lake Erie’s deepest point is 210 feet. The average depth of Lake Erie is 63 feet. The average depth of Seneca Lake is 291 feet and the average depth of Cayuga Lake is 182 feet. Here’s a little article on why these two “finger lakes” don’t freeze over in the winter. The ice will very slowly melt over the next 3-5 weeks. There’s a lot of ice and cold water there, so the lake-breeze will be a prominent feature of our spring and summer weather maps. Here’s the MODIS pictures from Friday of Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior (Superior pic. is from Thurs.).