Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

Ice on Great Lakes starting to expand with recent Arctic blasts

Jan 19, 2022 10:08AM ● By Editor

By Mark Torregrossa from - January 18, 2022

The ice cover is starting to grow on the Great Lakes. A few of the Great Lakes even have ice cover that is right at a long-term average.

December was warmer than normal across the Great Lakes. In fact, at most Lower Michigan cities, December only had three days with below-average temperatures. Going into January, there was only about 2% of the Great Lakes covered with ice.

Now January is pacing at being a colder than average month. While December averaged around six degrees warmer than normal, January is now averaging about four degrees colder than normal.

The ice coverage is starting to grow.

Currently about 14% of the entire Great Lakes surface is covered with ice. Some lakes have more ice compared to normal than other lakes.

Lake Huron is now over one-quarter covered with ice, at 27% ice cover.


Lake Michigan is also very close to the long-term average ice cover from 1973 to 2021. Lake Michigan has 15% ice cover.

But Lake Superior and Lake Erie are nowhere near the long term averages of ice cover. Lake Superior has only one-third the typical amount of ice at this time of year.


Lake Superior ice coverage this winter

Lake Erie has about half the usual ice right now, with an ice coverage of 19%.


Lake Erie ice coverage this winter


Lake Michigan ice coverage this winter

Lake Ontario ice cover has surged in recent days, and is also approaching the long-term average.


Lake Ontario ice coverage this winter

The water temperatures are still in the 40s for large areas of some of the lakes. Southern Lake Michigan has a large area of 42-degree water. Northern Lake Huron has some 42-degree water. Part of Lake Ontario still has water temperatures in the mid-40s.

While growing ice is interesting to watch, the water temperatures in the open waters are more important. Warmer water helps set off heavy lake-effect snow if other conditions are right.

To see the original post and read related stories, follow this link to the website.

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here