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Forum News Service, Published February 25 2014

Great Lakes ice declines in past week

DULUTH, Minn. – Despite a lot of media hype about the Great Lakes “freezing over” in recent weeks, the amount of ice on the five big lakes actually declined significantly in recent days.

The lakes, combined, are now only an estimated 62 percent ice-covered. That’s down from a high of 88 percent estimated ice cover Feb. 13.

Lake Superior dropped from a high of an estimated 94 percent ice cover at mid-month to just 77.5 percent Monday, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Large gaps of open water are visible along many of its shorelines.

There has been ample speculation that Superior would reach virtual freeze-over this year for the first time since 1996 and one of the few times in recent memory. But that hasn’t happened yet.

Lake Ontario was less than 10 percent ice-covered Monday, while Erie sat at 84 percent, Huron at 73 percent, and Michigan was about 30 percent frozen.