These are MODIS satellite pics (from NOAA Coastwatch) of Lake Michigan, Superior and Huron from Thursday PM. You can see a band of lake-effect snow coming down Lake Michigan. That band produced up to 8″ of snow in Chicago and 6″ in Milwaukee. There is still quite a bit of open water on Lake Michigan, but Huron and Superior are iced up enough to end the threat of lake-effect snow. You’d still get a small amount of warming (maybe 2-3 degrees) with the air moving across those lakes. That band of snow over Lake Michigan has been coming into Berrien Co. As the wind turns west and then southwest, the band will come onshore and dissipate. A dusting of snow is possible near the lake. Most of the day should be partly sunny and cold.
Great Lakes ice: Total – 84.1%, Superior – 94.9% , Michigan 58.9% , Huron 95.2% , Erie 95.6%, Ontario 53.6%, (links will update automatically with fresh numbers). This is the first time since the late 70s that we have had two consecutive years with Great Lakes ice reaching 80%. The strong winds we had on Tuesday didn’t break up much ice. Here’s Great Lakes water temperature over the past 5 years.
Great Lakes water levels: Lake Michigan/Huron is down one inch in the past month (precipitation is for the most part sitting on the ground and not running off into the rivers with the cold temperatures), up 21″ in the last year and it’s now 8″ higher than average for late Feb. The level of Lake Superior is down 2″ in the last month, up 8″ in the last year and 7″ above the long-term average. Lake St. Clair is down 3″ in the last month, down 1 inch in the past year and 3″ below the century average. Lake Erie is down 4″ in the last month, up one inch in the last year and exactly at the long-term average. Lake Ontario is down 5″ in the last month (open water for decent evaporation and little runoff coming into the lake with the cold temperatures), down 6″ in the last year and 6″ below the century average. The buildup of ice in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers has caused the water level of Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie to drop in the last few weeks. The outflow on the St. Marys, the St. Clair, the Detroit and the Niagara Rivers are all expected to be above average in March.
Also: Lake Superior ice caves are open to the public. Super-Mackinac yacht race scheduled for July 11 will cover 568 miles. Confederate treasure in Lake Michigan? Cruise ship coming to the Great Lakes this summer.