Here is yet another way to measure just how brutally cold this winter has been. The Great Lakes are nearing a COMPLETE freeze over… something that has NEVER happened before… well, at least in recorded history. The lakes are now about 89% iced over, up 10% in just a week. Watch the animation below to see how ice has grown and shrunk over the last 60 days.
This is the 3rd most ice on the lakes on record and the most since 1994, but there is still time to go for the all-time record of 96% set back in 1979. Now, the general thoughts are that with temperatures on the rise, ice production will stop altogether, but that's a big misconception. It takes several days of very warm temperatures to get ice production to halt altogether, and with lows still likely well below freezing across the area, ice production may slow a bit, but isn't expected to stop until we get into March. The last week of February and the first week of March is typically when ice on the lakes is at its peak. Look at the 30 year average ice production for all of the lakes.
You can see that each lake is slightly different because of latitude and water depth, but ice as a whole peaks right around March 1st giving us a solid 2 more weeks of ice increases getting us closer to setting a record. Below is a look at each individual lakes ice over.