Weather Blog: Ice to rapidly develop across the Great Lakes

After what has been a fairly mild winter, colder air will be settling in for the long haul which will allow for more ice to develop across the Great Lakes.

Posted: Feb 4, 2021 11:43 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — It’s been a fairly mild winter until recently.

Just a little over a week ago, ice coverage across the Great Lakes was at a record low.

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The average ice cover for the lakes in January 2021 was 4.4% which was behind the record of 4.08% set in January 2002.

Both Lake Superior and Lake Michigan recorded near-record low ice cover for the month.

We have turned the page to February and ice is finally beginning to form across the Great Lakes.

With the recent cold, the ice cover has increased from 3.9% reported on January 20, 2021 to 11.5% on February 3, 2021.

Ice coverage is nearing average for this time of the year and the cold is expected to last well into the middle of February.

The frigid temperatures in the coming weeks will help the lakes to freeze over.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the ice cover is expected to be at 30% in late February which could be the peak for the season.

Historically, ice coverage usually reaches 30% across the Great Lake by the end of January and it peaks at about 42% in late February.

According to NOAA, the average maximum ice coverage is 53.3% and below is a list of predicted maximum ice coverage for the 2021 season.

  • Lake Superior – 31% (Normal average is 61.5%)
  • Lake Michigan – 22% (Normal average is 40%)
  • Lake Huron – 41% (Normal average is 64.6%)
  • Lake Ontario – 7% (Normal average is 29.8%)
  • Lake Erie – 58% (Normal average is 81.2%)

According to NOAA, these predictions can change since they are based upon the latest surface-air temperature data.

Regardless, below average ice cover is expected for the 2021 season which means more clouds and more lake effect snow chances.
Believe it or not, this is a similar pattern to this time in 2020.

Lake Erie, which is the shallowest lake, is usually frozen over by now but water temperatures are running in the low to mid 30s and it is only 13.2% frozen.

Lake Michigan is averaging a water temperature of 40 degrees and it is only 12.9% ice covered.

The ice thickness has increased from Escanaba to Green Bay and also shallow areas along the shoreline.

Ice coverage will increase in the coming days as some of the coldest air of the season spills in over the weekend.

This will park highs in the single digits and teens over the next few days which will help to cool water temperatures and aid in ice formation.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 918230

Reported Deaths: 15011
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1252491952
Lake623371084
Allen52301746
Hamilton43009443
St. Joseph41155584
Elkhart32831485
Vanderburgh29698436
Tippecanoe26442247
Johnson23106414
Hendricks21708338
Porter21255340
Clark16988222
Madison16899378
Vigo15562272
Monroe14186190
LaPorte13961235
Delaware13613215
Howard13531258
Kosciusko11150134
Hancock10534159
Warrick10431174
Bartholomew10233166
Floyd10099202
Wayne9557216
Grant8858194
Morgan8654158
Boone8231109
Dubois7521123
Henry7391126
Dearborn734186
Noble7208100
Marshall7168127
Cass7060117
Lawrence6803150
Jackson638980
Shelby6386106
Gibson5999105
Harrison587984
Huntington586490
Montgomery5663101
DeKalb555691
Knox532999
Miami523183
Clinton522464
Putnam519067
Whitley509851
Steuben480267
Wabash470192
Jasper465760
Jefferson456091
Ripley439074
Adams435565
Daviess4008106
Scott389563
White383457
Decatur376895
Clay376455
Greene375589
Wells375183
Fayette363074
Posey351841
Jennings341756
Washington324046
LaGrange312074
Spencer310734
Fountain306553
Randolph302087
Sullivan294947
Owen275961
Orange269659
Starke268961
Fulton264451
Jay248134
Perry244950
Carroll239926
Franklin229337
Vermillion225850
Rush225530
Parke212020
Tipton205354
Pike200938
Blackford163834
Pulaski155250
Crawford140818
Benton138316
Newton138141
Brown130646
Martin124416
Switzerland122310
Warren112616
Union92211
Ohio75811
Unassigned0461

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1319265

Reported Deaths: 21265
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1480641537
Cuyahoga1311202313
Hamilton948871307
Montgomery647451122
Summit548531041
Lucas49502853
Butler45993649
Stark39954963
Lorain30438525
Warren29170326
Mahoning25988629
Clermont24726278
Lake24088411
Delaware21722140
Licking19822239
Fairfield19780218
Greene19671266
Medina19208285
Trumbull19195506
Clark17188321
Portage15585224
Richland15540228
Wood15187208
Allen13654254
Miami13283244
Muskingum11821148
Wayne11448234
Columbiana11100239
Tuscarawas10388264
Marion10273144
Pickaway10162128
Scioto9766124
Erie9479170
Ross8979172
Lawrence8225116
Hancock8105140
Ashtabula8083184
Geauga7976155
Belmont7791183
Jefferson7093168
Huron7087125
Union703549
Washington6823116
Athens666163
Sandusky6608132
Darke6394135
Knox6308120
Seneca6113135
Auglaize569888
Ashland5631110
Shelby555799
Mercer545188
Brown533067
Defiance5278100
Madison527368
Crawford5148113
Highland514876
Fulton508781
Clinton505379
Logan494582
Preble4788110
Putnam4733106
Guernsey439057
Williams437281
Champaign426463
Ottawa425783
Perry414051
Jackson402259
Pike367140
Morrow359149
Fayette353951
Coshocton345064
Hardin341868
Adams338864
Gallia329254
Holmes3148107
Henry312668
Van Wert299269
Hocking280467
Wyandot271858
Carroll250451
Paulding231742
Meigs197842
Monroe178649
Noble160340
Morgan153528
Harrison145740
Vinton130217
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 76°
Angola
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 78°
Huntington
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 78°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 79°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 80°
An area of high pressure will pave the way to plenty of sunshine as we round out the work week.
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