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Boreal Community Media

Great Lakes Ice Extent and Water Levels

Feb 16, 2019 10:07AM ● By Editor
Lake Superior MODIS satellite picture from Friday afternoon. 


By Bill Steffen of WOODtv.com - February 16. 2019


This is the Lake Superior MODIS satellite picture.  You can see there's a fair amount of ice in Lake Suuperior.  A fairly strong W-NW wind pushed much of the ice away from the Minnesota shore.  That wolf that moved from Isle Royale to the mainland wouldn't have made it today.  

The water level of Lake Superior is down 2" in the last month.  The level is unchanged from one year ago and the lake is 12" higher than the average February level.  Lake Michigan-Huron (one big lake for lake-level purposes) is unchanged in the last month, up 4" year-to-year and the lake is now 21" above the February average.  This means that all the connecting lakes (Lake Macatawa, Muskegon Lake, etc.) and rivers are also 21" above the February average.  Lake Erie is also unchanged in the last month, but it's 9" higher than one year ago and 24" above the February average.  Lake Ontario is up 7" in the last month, up 4" in the last year and is 15" above the long-term February average.  Lake St. Clair is unchanged in the last month.  The level is up 10" year-to-year and is 27" above the century average. 

Here's ice extent for the Great Lakes (53.2%) and the individual lakes.  We haven't reached peak ice yet.  

This is the 4th year in the last 6 years when the Great Lakes have exceeded the average maximum ice extent (which is 55% - the peak has been 56% and we should top that at some point later this month or in early March.  Ice cover limits evaporation and contributes (in a smaller way than precipitation) to higher lake levels. 

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