Warm winter temperatures have left the Great Lakes mainly ice-free

Following the warmest winter for Michigan and the second warmest winter for Indiana on record, the Great Lakes have seen a notable lack of ice.

Right now, across the Great Lakes basin, there is only 1.2% ice coverage - compare that to the average of 34.3% ice coverage at this time of year. The most ice coverage we've had this year was only 16% on January 22, still below the historical average.

Great Lakes basin-wise ice coverage GLERL NOAA

Lake Michigan has only 0.1% ice coverage, far below the 19% average. All of the lingering ice still on Lake Michigan is along the northern lakeshore near Escanaba and the Straits of Mackinac. Ice hasn’t been recorded along the southern lakeshore since late January.

Lake Michigan Ice Coverage GLERL NOAA

In general, ice coverage basin-wide is declining with the percentage of frozen lake area on a downward trend over the past 50 years.

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