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Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published February 17 2014

Weather Talk: Great Lakes ice coverage is very high this winter

Some of the largest negative temperature anomalies (departure from average) in the northern hemisphere this winter have been near the Great Lakes. So it is no surprise that ice coverage on the five Great Lakes is very high this winter.

The five lakes combined were 87 percent ice-covered as of last Friday. That was the highest level since February 1996.

Lake Superior is almost completely frozen over with 95 percent ice coverage. It was near this point in March 2009, but the last time the lake was considered 100 percent ice-covered was in March 1996. Lake Huron is also almost completely iced over with 95 percent coverage. Lake Michigan is 80 percent covered. And Lake Erie is 96 percent frozen over as of last Friday.

Although Lake Ontario is the smallest of the five Great Lakes in area, it has three times the volume of Lake Erie, meaning it is a much deeper lake and harder to freeze. This is one reason why Lake Ontario has the lowest ice coverage this winter with just 33 percent of the lake frozen over.

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