Lake Erie ice nears 96% coverage - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Lake Erie ice nears 96% coverage

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We continue to chase records on the Great Lakes.  They're now at the second most ice covered for a season in recorded history.  Lake Erie stands at 96% ice covered.  The entire chain sits at 92%, held back a little bit by Lake Ontario.  But how do we really know what's going on under the ice?



It's a dramatic change over just two months and hundreds of miles.  These images from NASA's high-powered MODIS satellite are best seen on a clear day, both from an eye in the sky and a lens on the ground.



A rare east wind howls at Maumee Bay State Park and across all of Lake Erie.  There's some open water way east of here; this bay itself is completely frozen over.  But that open water headed our way could lead to more ice.



Some of the thinnest ice pack is just across the Canadian border from Cleveland.  That's also where the strongest winds helped nudge the ice west.  The wind forecast will push higher gusts right back over our islands in the coming hours.  That's likely to cause some cracking and crushing, even though widespread melting is not likely.  

 

These maps come from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab.  They're created just minutes away in Ann Arbor, with help from the Weather Service office in Cleveland.  

 

They estimate the thickest Erie ice to be almost two feet thick.  But since almost every buoy is picked up before winter to avoid damage, the forecast is just that: an estimate.  There are also vital forecasts for early and late-season shipping, when spray ice becomes a concern.


The ice along the western side of Lake Erie is some of the thickest in the entire Great Lakes chain.  But still, some people along the islands need a little extra hand.  Meteorologist Ross Ellet takes you up in the sky for a look at the supply chains.

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