Share

Stubborn, Solid Ice: Great Lakes Set Late-Season Record (ANIMATION)

By Jess Baker
Published: March 18, 2014
Great Lakes Ice Cover

Animation traces the amount of ice coverage on the Great Lakes since mid-February.

Winter is keeping a tight grip on the Great Lakes. March 2014 has set a new record high for the amount of ice cover this late in the season.

According to NOAA, 82.8 percent of the Great Lakes were still covered in ice as of March 17. That's the highest mark for this late in the season more than 35 years, surpassing the previous mid-March high of 75.85 percent set on March 15, 1978.

(MORE: When Will Spring Arrive?)

This winter was already second in the record books for the most amount of ice ever recorded on the Great Lakes.

"According to analysis by NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (NOAA/GLERL), ice cover peaked at 92.2 percent of the Great Lakes on March 6," weather.com meteorologist Jon Erdman said. "In records dating to 1973, only February 1979 (94.7 percent peak) had more ice.

Despite Thursday's official start to spring, the ice isn't likely to melt quickly. Meteorologists say this stubborn cold pattern, which is partially responsible for at least 22 named winter storms so far, doesn't appear to be letting go in the near future.

"With a high probability of colder-than-average temperature across the Great Lakes next week according to the Climate Prediction Center, it appears the melting will continue to be slower than what we would typically expect this late in the season," weather.com meteorologist Chris Dolce explains.

(FORECAST: Unusually Cold Start to Spring)

The brutal winter has had some benefits. People from around the world have come to hike to Lake Superior's spectacular ice caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, which are only accessible during the coldest winters.

MORE: The Frozen Great Lakes

Ice covers the shoreline of Lake Michigan on Feb. 18, 2014 in Chicago, Ill. This winter’s prolonged cold weather has caused more than 88 percent of the Great Lakes to be covered in ice which is near the record of 95 percent set in Feb. 1979. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)


Featured Blogs

Summer Weather Watch: Keep an Eye on These Five Possibilities

By Dr. Jeff Masters
May 22, 2015

t’s Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the U.S. summer season, and millions are wondering what kind of weather the next three months will bring. Signals point toward a cooler- and wetter-than-average summer across much of the U.S. this year, with unusual heat mostly limited to the far West and Alaska.

The Great California Storm of April 19-23, 1880

By Christopher C. Burt
April 11, 2015

Could a single big late–season storm have a significant impact on the California drought? A 'Hail Mary' storm event? Normally by this time of the year (April 10th) California would have already received at least 90% of its rainy-season precipitation total and any additional rain or snowfall would have little impact so far as the current drought is concerned. However, back in late April 1880, one of the most intense storms ever to pound the state occurred. Here are the details.

Please check out the new homepage and tell us what you think!

By Shaun Tanner
April 2, 2015

The development team here at Weather Underground has been hard at work producing a new homepage! Please take a look at the sneak peek and tell us what you think!

Meteorological images of the year - 2014

By Stu Ostro
December 30, 2014

My 9th annual edition.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.