Ice still on the Great Lakes - Tucson News Now

Ice still on the Great Lakes

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We brought you the story of historic ice coverage on the Great Lakes back in March, but we are still not done talking about record breaking ice on the Great Lakes.


As of May 4th, the overall coverage of ice on the fives lakes stood at 19%, with Lake Superior sitting around 40% iced over.  Both those numbers are new records for this date, and not just by a little. Typically for this date the lakes would be around 3% iced, so the 19% is over six times the normal amount of ice.

The bitterly cold temperatures and above normal snowpack aided in ice grow this year. The cold temperatures allowed ice to form fast while the snowpack acted like an insulator when temperatures did warm above freezing (which kept the ice cold). With cool temperatures and cloudy skies this week around that part of the country, it was hard for the ice to disappear over large areas of the lakes.

One concern will all the ice on Lake Superior is what we like to call "Ice Tsunamis". This is when large chunks of ice get pushed ashore by strong winds. These chunks tend to pile up on top of one another and get pushed further inland. This has already happened in one small Michigan town and several homes have been destroyed.

Ice being pushed on shore in upper Michigan from lake Superior.

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