On a completely different note, an update on the frozen Great Lakes, and some incredible photographs.
Great Lakes ice cover topped out at just over 88 percent frozen over on Feb. 13, according to NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. This hasn’t happened in nearly two decades.
Lake Superior, Lake Erie and Lake Huron are closer to 100 percent frozen over, as of Feb. 19, according to NOAA-GLERL.
The most ice cover reported on the Great Lakes, in records dating to 1973, was in 1979 when the ice reached 94.7 percent. Weather Channel meteorologist Jonathan Erdman says that for the past four years, the ice coverage remained around 40 percent or less. The 40-year average peak seasonal ice coverage is just over 51 percent.
For the first time in five years, ice caves on Lake Superior’s south shore are now accessible by walking across the sufficiently thick ice on Lake Superior. This week temperatures are expected to rise above freezing, and the Great Lakes could see some thawing, Erdman says. However, a cold front in the wake of Winter Storm Seneca will open the door to a return to a colder pattern that is likely to hold through the end of February, if not into early March. Given that, it seems reasonable ice cover will make a comeback, and could top the peak value from just before Valentine's Day.