What’s the Ice Coverage on the Great Lakes? Dec 7, 2017

With lake effect snow in the forecast across the Great Lakes, that made us ask here at WeatherNation, how much of the Great Lakes is covered by ice at this point in the season?

This is important question to ask because ice cover has a significant impact on the lake effect snow. Typically, the more ice cover there is on the lakes, the less lake effect snow. It should be noted here that lake effect snow can occur even with ice-covered lakes, mainly because of frictional differences between land and ice cover.

Picture of foot prints in the the snow from recent lake effect snow in western New York.

One thing is clear, its been a very warm fall across much of the upper Midwest and eastern United States. Plus, it is still early in the fall and winter seasons. These two reason alone means that there is  likely not a large amount of ice on the lakes. Sure enough, this is the case.

Great Lakes Ice Cover from December 6th, 2017. 0.1 percent of the Great Lakes is covered by ice. Source: Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, 0.1% of the Great Lakes is covered with ice. That equates to a surface area of 94.25 square miles, or about two-fifths or 40 percent of the land area of Chicago.

With an open water on the Great Lakes and plenty of cold air to flow across them never over the next week or so, expect more opportunities for lake effect snow.

For WeatherNation, I am Meteorologist Marcus Walter.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Up to 5 FEET of snow so far in parts of the Sierra Nevada! #CAwx https://t.co/nmaSRDVGDL

31 minutes ago by WeatherNation

Whiteout conditions currently on top of Donner Pass, California. https://t.co/Y6UDPPajXt

54 minutes ago by WeatherNation

NEW: Winter Storm Watches expanded to include the entire Chicago, IL metro area for Friday and Saturday: #ILwx https://t.co/713gbXrSDl

1 hour ago by WeatherNation

Some light snow in Columbus, Ohio today - this is already winding down, but more snow is coming for central Ohio on… https://t.co/SX1KcBOdqA

1 hour ago by WeatherNation

Grandma always said these days were great for ducks. 🦆🦆 She never specified plastic or real though. https://t.co/nbQ5I2FVys

3 hours ago by WeatherNation

Flooding threat in California, especially near burn scar areas, with additional areas of heavy rain ahead:… https://t.co/G7Uk63MQ2G

3 hours ago by WeatherNation

Heavy rain is pummeling California this week, triggering numerous floods & mudslides. This is brand new footage o… https://t.co/j2Kl7uiylS

3 hours ago by WeatherNation

ICYMI: We had some fun with the trivia on this week's podcast! Do you know the answer? Watch:… https://t.co/p4PmjUysSi

4 hours ago by WeatherNation
Follow Us