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Pros and Cons of Prolonged Great Lakes Ice ??

17 Apr 2014, 12:51 pm

Not doubt this winter/spring season has been cold for the eastern two-thirds of the nation. Temperatures have been consistently running below average and this week was another reminder of that. It has been so cold that there is still quite a bit of ice on the Great Lakes, especially on Lake Superior! The image below was taken around midday Thursday from the Lake Superior Marine Museum and note the big chunks of ice floating around… Duluth, MN by the way, just saw 7.2″ of snow with this last storm and has now seen it’s 5th greatest seasonal snow in recorded history! So far this year, Duluth has seen 125.3″ !! Keep in mind that last year saw its 3rd snowiest season on record with 129.4″ !! April 2013 was also the snowiest month on record with nearly 51″ !!


Lake Superior Ice – April 10th

Thanks to MODIS for the satellite image below from April 10th… It’s a stunning image isn’t it? It almost looks like the entire lake was covered in ice.

4.17 Lake Superior April 10

Lake Superior Ice – April 15th

Just a few days later, the ice looked a little different. Thanks to a northerly wind, most of the ice on Lake Superior has been piled up along the south shore, but it’s a noticeable difference from just a few days prior.

4.17 Lake Superior April 15

Lake Superior Ice Coverage – April 17

According to NOAA’s GLERL, Lake Superior ice coverage was down to 64.3%, which in all honesty is still quite a bit at this time of the year…

4.17 Lake Superior April 17

Great Lakes Ice Coverage

According to NOAA’s GLERL, the Great Lakes as a whole is down to only 37.1% ice coverage, down from it’s peak of nearly 92% in early March.

4-17_RGL_Great Lakes Ice Coverage April 16_37_1percentTemperature Anomaly Year-To-Date

Why so much ice this year? Thanks to a nearly persistent trough of low pressure over the eastern two-thirds of the nation, we haven’t seen much change in the cold and snowy pattern this winter/spring season.

(image credit: WeatherBell)4.17 North America Temp Anom

Pros and Cons of Long Lasting Great Lakes Ice

Here’s an interesting article that was recently released by about why the Great Lakes ice is such a big deal this year…

“Already, the impact of this icy blockade can be felt. On March 25, five days after the official beginning of spring, the Soo Locks separating Lake Superior from the lower Great Lakes opened for the season. But after a long and harsh winter, Lake Superior’s nearly 32,000 square miles were still nearly entirely covered in ice. It would be another eleven days before the first commercial vessel fought its way across Lake Superior–with the aid of several dedicated ice breakers–and down through the locks. The trip across Lake Superior to the Soo Locks, which usually takes 28 hours, took these first ships of the season nine days. A third ship had to return to Duluth after being damaged by the ice.”

See more from HERE:

(Image below courtesy NOAA)4.17 Great Lakes Ice Feb

Gradual Changes…

Here are the highs for Friday. Note that we’re still going to be below average for a number of locations in the eastern half of the country. However, there’s a little warmth building across the Southwestern part of the country and that’s the warmth that will make for an interesting week next week!

4.17 Highs Friday 4.17 Temp From Avg FridayBig Changes Ahead!

Let’s fast-forward into next week! Note the large trough of low pressure that looks to develop across the western half of the country. This is something that we haven’t seen much of lately. This will likely bring much warm and more humid weather to the eastern half of the country next week! There is also a chance that with a pattern setting up like this that a more active/stormy pattern could be unfolding across the Plains! Stay tuned for more…

4.17 500mb

Temp Outlook

Now this is a sight for sore eyes! According to NOAA’s CPC, the 6 to 10 day temperature outlook shows warmer than normal conditions across the eastern two-thirds of the nation for April 22nd-26th!!

4.17 6 to 10 day

Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your week/weekend ahead! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV




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