Record Ice on the Great Lakes

April 18th, 2014 at 1:06 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Michigan Holland Ice Pier 4 12 14 Gary Brinks   Great Lakes Ice 4 16 14  Click on the images to enlarge.  The first picture was taken last weekend by Gary Brink at Holland, Michigan (you may remember the picture of the “tsunami cloud” that Gary took 2 years ago).  This is a very interesting pictures and something we’ve never seen before.   The sun is setting well north of due west as we are well past the Spring Equinox.  There has never been anywhere near this much ice on the Holland beach in mid-April.    The graph on the right shows the percent of the Great Lakes still covered with ice.  It’s more than double the highest percent recorded in mid-April during the satellite era.  The mid-week analysis by NOAA/Coastwatch showed a Great Lakes ice cover of 37.1%.   The 4/18 ice percentage shows 20.1% ice cover on Lake MichiganLake Superior still shows a 67.9% ice cover, Lake Huron is at 33.6%, Lake Erie (the southernmost Great Lake) is at 16.0% ice cover and Lake Ontario is has a 2.5% ice cover.

The latest Great Lakes water levels from the Army Corps of Engineers shows the following increases in Great Lakes water levels over the past month:  Lake Superior 2″, Lake Michigan 7″, Lake Huron 7″, Lake Erie 11″ and Lake Ontario 14″.   The year-to-year change in water levels of the Great Lakes:  Superior +13″, Lake Michigan +13″, Lake Huron +13″, Lake Erie +9″, Lake Ontario +5″.

The mid-week snowstorm brought heavy snow to much of Upper Michigan, with totals of 19″ at Laurium and Allouez, 18″ at S. Range, 17″ at Ontonagon and 15″ at Caspian and Mohawk.  Snow depths Thursday in the U.P.:  46″ Herman and Hoist Basin, 40″ Grand Marais and Mohawk, 31″ at Houghton, 28″ at Marquette (airport) and 12″ at S. Ste. Marie.  Ashland, Wisconsin reported 15″ of new snow and Rock Creek, Minnesota had 17″.

On Wednesday & Thursday in Vostok, Antarctica, the high was minus-97 F (minus-72 C).  Coldest Twins game ever.  No severe weather reports in the U.S. Wednesday or Thursday.  There have been more tornadoes in California this year (so far) than Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas COMBINED!

118 Responses to “Record Ice on the Great Lakes”

  1. Cort S. says:

    I would have loved to see that “tsunami cloud” in person. But I saw some pretty good lenticulars last week, so I got that going for me, which is nice.

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      You live in “Lenticular Land”….LOL!!!

    2. Brad says:

      How common are those in MI? I have some pics of a sky full of them in northern LP last summer.

      1. GunLakeDeb says:

        That’s where I’ve seen them, when they DO appear.

  2. DarrenSVRtsm ( Cedar S ) says:

    Wow , those clouds don’t look real , that must of been incredible to see in person. Hey Cort , what type ( s ) of lenticular clouds did you see ; alto , cirro , stratocumulus ?

    1. Cort S. says:

      ACSL. It was actually in your old stomping ground, over those mountains to the SW of town. Plenty forming to the east as well.

      1. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

        Goog old Pockey tella ID , yes I remember that long year well. Lol. You arrived on some nice clouds , great pics as well !

  3. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

    It’s really amazing that we have this amount of ice. Wasn’t it last September the Antarctica started to freeze over? Another interesting fact, California has had a lot of tornadoes this season, more than Kas/OK/Texas combined. It will be fun to watch the Great Plains next week, to see the development of any severe storms. I hope someone will give a update on what might happen next week. Everyone have a nice day.

  4. Kathleen says:

    WOW! Lake MI 7″ higher, that’s a lot of water! The ice that is still out there has to be making our temps. cooler! What will happen to our growing season for those that put in a garden? Amazing pic of the Tsumani Cloud! We were at the Lake MI beach at the Muskegon Channel a few years ago and watched a huge cloud come in from over the lake that looked like a sideways tornado! As it came closer to land it kept growing! It was an amazing sight!

  5. kevin. w says:

    I’m wondering with talks of the El Nino coming and the extreme winter we just had and the intense drought the west is having, what will we have come 6 months from now. We could go from very cold/snowy to mild/dry and the west could go from very dry to flooding, mudslides and disaster. Extremes seem to be the going trends in the weather department. Just a few years ago we had record warmth in the spring and summer and almost record number of intense tornadoes that destroyed alot of cities. MHO is extreme is the theme.

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      Well, we’ve certainly been on a roller-coaster these last few years!

  6. jake says:

    Omg who the hell cares. Try posting a blog on warmer weather. It is April after all

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      Yes, it IS April. And it’s freakin’ COLD, thanks to all that snow and ice and cold water… I think there might be a connection ;-)

      1. Barb says:

        The long-term outlook for July & August from the Weather Channel has below average and much below average for at least 1/3 -1/2 of the country.

        1. Barb says:

          temperatures, that is.

  7. Mark (East Lansing) says:

    I keep looking at the tsunami cloud pic. Incredible.

    1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      I agree

    2. DF (SE Mich) says:

      Yes, absolutely amazing. I’ve sailed my entire life out on that Lake and I’ve never witnessed a cloud like that.

  8. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    Nice and sunny here now and the temp is up to 50° so there is a chance we could get a little warmer then the forecasted high in the mid 50’s For the month GR is now just -0.9° so we are almost at average. In fact the next several days look to be for the most part above to near average (the average high starting tomorrow is 60 and by Monday its in the low 60’s) So it looks like a rather nice April week. It should be noted we still have no real “warm” days in the forecast yet. I know there are several personas that do not like to hear about the ice and snow we still have here in Michigan but hey its there and even here in GR we still have snow piles left here and there. Of course they are much smaller then they were but they are still here. I have to say it’s the latest I have even seen snow piles here in GR since I moved here in 1984 and I can only remember a few times in Alpena when they were around this long (mostly in the early 1960’s)
    Now according to the CPC and their long range guess May still looks to be cool

    But in their summer guess it looks good so far


    1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      And while it’s a long way off here is the CPC’s long range guess for next winter

      I know there will be many who say that will not happen but hey it always something ot look forward to after this past winter!

      1. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

        Thanks, you made my morning.

      2. Paul (Yankee Springs-Barry State Game Area) says:

        I would not mind one bit…,

    2. DF (SE Mich) says:

      All-time records are big weather news cold or hot. Good stuff as always.

  9. Jacob G says:

    So a bit less confidence this morning at the end of next weeks system regarding severe weather. The Euro is much faster with the system and does not allow much warm air to get up into the Great Lakes in front of the system. In fact after Monday it cools us down. The GFS is still showing major LP with a warm front getting up to mid-Michigan and warmer temps. The GFS also is much slower ejecting the system out of the Rockies. So still need to watch the trends and the models, however confidence is lower this morning. We probably will have a better handle early next week and good news Easter weekend is looking free and clear! Also just in case the Euro long term is accurate enjoy any 70 degree weather we can get in the next 3-5 days!

    1. John (Norton Shores) says:

      The SPC outlook this morning says because of the faster EURO the severe weather outbreak in the plains could be significant.

      1. Jacob G says:

        I don’t think the Plains will escape the severe weather. Right now we are near record number of tornados for season to date. I think those numbers ramp up next week.

        1. Jacob G says:

          Record low, that is.

        2. John (Norton Shores) says:

          Something to keep an eye on for sure! Could be the first significant tornado outbreak of the year and after that it all looks to ramp up.

      2. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

        I am sure the storm chasers are hoping.

    2. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:


    3. DarrenSVRtsm ( Cedar S ) says:

      It still will be interesting to watch as this develops. What you mentioned Jacob about the moisture stream being cut off , has been the main talking point through – out the week as there are 2-3 waves forecasted to come through around that time so it’s questionable what kind of return ( moisture – energy ) you will have , as it is more complex with multiple waves in that same area and time frame. So time will tell how much fuel is available after these systems move through earlier in the week and what remains for the wed – thurs time frame. I think there will be some SVR weather although it’s not going to be the high – end variety they were once thinking might develop , but one thing about SVR weather is that it can change very quickly .

    4. GunLakeDeb says:

      So the Models don’t think this lovely weather is going to stay put?? :-(

  10. Mark (East Lansing) says:

    The rain overnight sure helped green up the grass. It’s starting to look like Spring. :-)

  11. I may have to keep my eye on this even out in the Plains!



    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      So are you going to chase on your own, or sign up with a tour?? Just wondering…. and hope you share photographs with us!

    1. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

      It doesn’t take much of a earthquake to do a lot damage in that part of the world. This was a powerful quake. I am sure there will be injuries/deaths. I am sure there are u.s. citizens on vacation in the area.

      1. DarrenSVRtsm ( Cedar S ) says:

        That is a very big quake , but I can’t tell if it was centered over- land as it seems it was but it’s hard to tell from the report. I’ve experienced a 6.9 mag earthquake and that did sig in many areas in San Francisco and surrounding areas. 7.1 is an exponentially greater when it comes to scale of magnitude , that is no joke for sure , and if it was close to Acapulco or any developed areas this could do some damage. One thing that sounds hopeful is that this was not a shallow epicenter , so the fact it occurred 30 miles under the earths crust might be a really good sign. We shall see as more information becomes available.

        1. GunLakeDeb says:

          It looks like Acapulco experienced it at about a 5M level which is scary enough – but less prone to damage for well-constructed buildings.

  12. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

    Just seen the grass/brush fire truck heading north out of town. It doesn’t surprise me,I am sure the underbrush is bone dry.

    1. steven (Derby Lake) says:

      DNR was doing a controlled burn about 5 or miles east of here yesterday. They never told Central Dispatch so fire departments were called out for a forest fire one time. Last night you could see a glow in the sky from the flames.

  13. Cort S. says:

    How many NWS offices can you name in 20 minutes?

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      Ugh. 59 out of 123

    2. John (Norton Shores) says:

      110/123! Yahoooo!

    3. Brian(Grandville) says:

      60/123. Missed a lot of locations by 1 letter.

    4. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

      Leave it to me to take the test wrong… I was putting in all the abbreviations / office codes…lol. 83/123. Didn’t know they just wanted the cities…hahaha. There I was trying all different combinations when I already knew the city many times. Wowsers

      1. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

        *84 correct

      2. GunLakeDeb says:

        I have to admit it probably took me a few minutes just to figure out how to “fill in the blanks”….LOL!

  14. Dikehopper (Fennville) says:

    Dave Carter retired from the military (Marines, as I recall). He now drives cross-country truck. And that is a real over-simplification.

    An ode to nature, God, and…

    Dave’s blog posts have become a “must read” for me.

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      That was a pleasure to read! What a wonderful writer – and clearly a loving father (I like the quick exchange between he and his son in the comments section)

  15. Nathan (Forest Hills) says:

    Warmer than I was expecting today. The clouds are starting to break up as well so temperatures will likely rise even further throughout the day. Allergies were bad this morning too but I’m feeling fine now. The flowers should start to grow soon too! Can’t wait!

  16. Travis (Oakland County) says:

    Hit 66 yesterday. Close to 60 here already today.

    Looks like a perfect weekend with tons of sun and maybe 70!

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      Agreed, enjoy.

  17. bluegill says:

    Yet another day where GR is 20 degrees warmer than Traverse City – 58 in GR and 38 in TC. Amazing how much difference in temperature in 150 miles. Actually this happens quite a bit in the spring and fall, but its about time for it to be 78 in GR and 58 in TC.

    1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

      Bill would love it up there ;)

  18. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    Keep the sun with temps in the 60′s and 70′s rolling! It should be a great day on the golf course tomorrow!

    1. matt says:

      Cold weather will be here soon. Who knew imagine that

  19. I got a 77/123 on that NWS Office Quiz Haha

    1. That’s a 63% lol at my school that is considered failing. Passing at my school is a 64.5%. Not bad I guess for just the ones I know off the top of my head!

  20. You know the warm weather is here when the ice cream truck comes rolling down your road with its music going lol!

    1. Dikehopper (Fennville) says:

      That made me smile. I love watching the little kids rushing to catch the ice cream truck.

      I remember a loooong time ago buying ice cream at an ice cream truck for a little kid next door, and ended up buying for all the kids in the neighborhood. Grin.

  21. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

    Ice cream man is coming !! Were they playing the entertainer , or something less traditional Kyle ? What a nice day , it almost felt like the weather wasn’t real , I also noticed that people actually live in the houses in my neighborhood since you don’t seem to see them as much when it’s cold out.

    1. No its the “Hello” one lol.

      I actually found it on Youtube haha!

      1. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says: Nice find Kyle…..I like the old school one better as I roll with the entertainer . :)

  22. John (Norton Shores) says:

    NWS raised there temperatures for me for this weekend!

    Tomorrow- 65
    Sunday- 70
    Monday 63

    I’ll happily take those temperatures especially the 70 degrees! :)

    1. Sounds GREAT! What is the current temperature in Muskegon/Norton Shores right now? I am heading over that way again soon haha

      1. John (Norton Shores) says:

        Cooler here, only 50 here right now, but believe it or not the NWS is actually calling for the warmest spots tomorrow to be right at the lakeshore due to a northeast wind.

        1. Ohh ok. Ive got 59 here right now.

  23. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

    If you have never seen ” Jumpy the Dog ” you should check him out , unreal! I had a border collie growing up , but she wasn’t quite this smart.
    This one is the dog and a kid doing parkour , pretty amazing

    1. Jack says:

      HAPPY ” GOOD FRIDAY” Darren + ALL OF BILLS BLOG !! Good Friday CUE…..HERE :::: Stay Cued…..and…GOD BLESS YE ALL!!……+……. :-)

      1. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

        You too Jack , and God Bless you and your family as well.

      2. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

        Happy Good Friday and a Blessed Easter to you and your family.

    2. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

      One more must see and this one is more closely related to weather. I did see this video before but never this version of it. Notice the heart-rate monitor as it reads 0 two different times and of course a person breaking the speed of sound while falling is nothing to sneeze at either , oh and he is 23 miles high lol.

      1. Jack says:

        WOW!!! Thanks For Sharing Dsvrstm….

        1. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

          Intense vid , pretty crazy falling at 800+ miles an hour!!

  24. Well I am now off to Muskegon. Kind of bad timing because I will hit the 5 o’clock rush in Downtown Grand Rapids. It will likely be backed up due to heavy traffic and probably an accident. Seems there is a crash near the S-Curve everyday during rush hour

    1. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

      I hate the S-Curve.

  25. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

    Any new updates for the Great Plains on the development of next weeks severe storms? I hope the weather experts on this blog will keep us updated over the Easter weekend. I want to follow this possible severe storm development. Also, see if any of the severe storms try to make it into Michigan.

    1. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

      Still kinda same old spot as earlier Larry , the GFS and Euro are at odds with each other , what’s new right!! The timing is a bit unknown , however it’s safe to say there will be SVR weather wed – thurs time frame somewhere in the plains. Stay tuned the blog will keep you posted as to when and where to expect some weather , especially when it’s going to be in your viewing area , aka your back yard . I already put in a special request for this to occur at your home in the near future Larry!

      1. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

        Not in my Back Yard. LOL.

        1. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

          Everyone wants a little rumble of thunder in their back yard from time to time Larry , as it’s the lighting bolts that my be a cause for concern. Hehehe

  26. Nice weather up here in Whitehall. 52 and sunny. There is a small cool breeze of Lake Michigan but not bad

    1. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

      COOL…enjoy the weekend.

  27. GunLakeDeb says:

    To those who celebrate Easter – have a wonderful and blessed one! And if you don’t… then have a great weekend :-)

    1. Mark (East Lansing) says:


      1. Thanks and you too GunLakeDeb!

      2. Rocky (Rockford) says:


    2. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

      You as well GLD , happy Easter weekend .

    3. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:


  28. TACO BOY says:

    Enjoy Your Easter Everybody ….Eat A Taco Forget The Ham!! In Jesus We Love!

    1. Brian(Grandville) says:

      I’ll eat a taco every day of the year except Easter. Love the ham. I make an excellent German potato salad to go with the ham.

  29. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    Keep the warm coming! I love it!

  30. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    Looks good to me. Summer = normal temps = minimal 90 degree days! Lets have a summer with most days in the 70′s! That would be AWESOME! Bring it!

    1. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

      No matter what you always seem to find a map with us in the blue and if not it’s near by. Lol

      1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

        Just the facts – bring on a normal or cool summer please!

        1. Brian(Grandville) says:

          I’m with you on that. 70′s and 80′s sound perfect to me.

        2. GunLakeDeb says:

          That’s music to MY ears!!

    2. Cort S. says:

      EC = Equal Chances (of below or near or above normal)

      1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

        EC = not below average temps! Bring it!

        1. Cort S. says:

          EC means just as much chance of below-normal temps as anything else. (A summer with most days in the 70s? Do you want another 2009?)

  31. on the Grand says:

    Darren, the water level at my place is back to about normal for the past few years but lower than what it should be. We have no flooding issues now. I was surprise that the floating ice was back at the beach. Yesterday it was all gone. I guess it all depends on the wind.

    1. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

      That’s good , no flooding concerns , as the ice is your main culprit it sounds like.

  32. INDY says:

    Wow Rocky likes the heat now who would of thought lololo, no name change this summer Rock?? I thought for sure u would have your summer name going now on Bill’s blog!! Go wings …INDYY!!!

    1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      Just the facts baby!

  33. Rad (Jenison/Hudsonville) says:

    WTG!! WINGS!!

    1. Brian (Grandville) says:

      Oh yeah !!!

      1. steven (Derby Lake) says:

        I can’t get into hockey, can never see where the puck is.

    2. Barry in Zeeland says:

      Awesome game tonight!!! Haven’t seen them fly around relentlessly like that in a long time. Just about a perfectly executed game. GO WINGS!!

  34. Jeremy (Three Rivers) says:

    The faithful wood stove was shut down today. This looong winter depleted me down to the last wood pile. Propane heat should do it until the air conditioning comes on! I need a good thunderstorm (non-severe, of course). My first thunder was way back a month or two when there was still snow on the ground. Wait… that was the day we got thundersnow, so I haven’t had my first real T’storm yet. I miss the distant rumbles of thunder and the flashes of lightning. Storms are best at night when the lightning is spectacular. I’m looking forward to Summer.

    1. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

      Are the river levels normal down your way? The Thornapple River here in Hastings looks almost normal. We missed out on the severe storms last Saturday, did get a little thunderstorm on Sunday. It’s been a while since I been to Three Rivers.

  35. John (Norton Shores) says:

    Hey Kyle, what you should do when you go to the plains is set up a website, you can set up a free website or blog with weebly. So that way you can blog and post pictures of your chases in the plains. There may even be a way to do live streaming, I think youtube allows live streaming. Just a suggestion for a way to keep up with us bloggers here in Michigan so we can see all of your cool pictures and videos! :)

  36. Jen says:

    I’m going to take or create some serious crap for this I’m sure, but Bill, what do you think about this?

    1. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

      I read about 3/4 of the article and really don’t have a comment with regard to content , although it is interesting to see who wrote the article , oil and gas investment , but that’s just an observation .

      1. Jen says:

        I saw that too. I figure Bill or some other commentators here might have some data to either back up or dispute this better.

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