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Great Lakes water temperatures significantly colder, could impact fall, winter

Aug 23, 2017 10:57AM ● Published by Editor

Surface water temperatures now (GLSEA/ Mark Torregrossa | MLive)

By Mark Torregrossa mtorregr@mlive.com - Updated on August 22, 2017 at 3:38 PM

We are right at the typical warm water point of the season here in the Great Lakes. Comparing last year's water temperatures to right now shows us the Great Lakes are colder than last year.

On average I would say any one spot is between three and five degrees colder than this time last year.

I've indicated some of the surface water temperatures of various regions on the Great Lakes. Southern Lake Michigan has water temperatures between 70 degrees and 74 degrees right now, compared to 73 degree to 77 degrees on August 21, 2016.

Northern Lake Huron was 70 degrees to 74 degrees this time last year. Now it has surface water temperatures in the mid-60s to upper-60s.

Lake Superior's coldest pocket of water right now measures 57 degrees to 60 degrees. Last year it was still chilly, but at 60 degrees to 63 degrees.

Lake Erie usually has temperatures over 80 degrees at this time of year. Not this year so far. The surface temperatures are now 73 degrees to 77 degrees.

Lake Ontario had warmed up well into the 70s last year, while this year it is barely into the 70s.

Will this have an impact on fall and winter?

When we have much warmer than normal Great Lakes water temperatures, the warm water acts to modify or warm cold air masses dropping south from Canada. So the opposite is true when Great Lakes water temperatures are cooler. It's not that the water will make the air colder, but it will allow cold air masses to more easily take over the Great Lakes region.

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