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Great Lakes ice coverage is less than 10%, a record low for mid-January

Michigan Great Lakes Ice coverage Jan 21 2021.jpg
Posted at 8:20 AM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 08:20:49-05

(WXYZ) — The Great Lakes just set a record for the lack of ice coverage at this time of year.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, the total Great Lakes ice coverage is at just 9.1% as of Jan. 24.

The breakdown is below.

Lake Huron - 18.2%
Lake Michigan - 7.2%
Lake Erie - 7.0%
Lake Superior - 6.3%
Lake Ontario - 1.0%

Lake St. Clair, not a Great Lake, does have 36.7% ice coverage.

According to a Washington Post report, in mid-January, at least 20% or more of the Great Lakes would usually be covered by ice.

Last week, only 1.8% were covered by ice, which was a record.

Water temperatures and air temperatures have been warmer than usual this Winter, but the NOAA said there is still time.

“I will say it’s still pretty early in the year,” James Kessler, a physical scientist with the NOAA's GLERL, said to the Post. “When we talk about ice cover, we like to talk about maximum ice cover. It’s a good index.

“There’s a huge amount of variability year to year in regards to that maximum ice cover,” he explained. “[During] the highest ice years, like 1979, almost all the lakes were 90 percent or higher. But in 2002, all the lakes were around 10 percent … [Lake] Huron got to 25 percent," he added.