lake superior ice coverage

Speaking of Ice…

Rob Almeida
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January 4, 2014

A vortex of polar air has pushed its way into the northern plains of the United States this weekend bringing with it record-breaking cold temperatures and wind chills of 50 degrees below zero (or lower) in some places. This extremely cold air will shift eastward over the next few days and as it does, will push temperatures down in the northern Great Lakes region to levels not seen since February of 1996.

Pictured below are the ice cover images for Lake Superior as well as the northern reaches of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron as of 4 Jan 14.

lake superior ice coverage
via NWS

ice cover northern great lakes

The NWS notes rapid expansion of ice coverage over the past week as result of the extremely cold air anchored over northern Michigan, however this coverage will most certainly expand over the next few days as gale or even storm-force winds are coupled with daytime high temperatures in the negative teens.

The following is the latest forecast from the NWS as of 1127 AM EST SAT JAN 4 2014

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR PORTIONS OF EASTERN LAKE SUPERIOR...CENTRAL LAKE SUPERIOR AND WESTERN LAKE SUPERIOR.

.DAY ONE...REST OF TODAY AND TONIGHT

SOUTHWEST GALES TO 35 KNOTS OVER EASTERN LAKE SUPERIOR WILL SHIFT TO WEST TO NORTHWEST GALES THIS AFTERNOON. HEAVY FREEZING SPRAY IS ALSO EXPECTED. SEE THE LATEST LAKE SUPERIOR MARINE FORECAST AND MARINE WEATHER MESSAGE FOR FURTHER DETAILS.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...SUNDAY THROUGH FRIDAY

EXPECT NORTHWEST GALES TO 35 KNOTS OVER PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AND EASTERN LAKE SUPERIOR MONDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY. HEAVY FREEZING SPRAY IS EXPECTED ACROSS MUCH OF LAKE SUPERIOR SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT. SEE THE LATEST LAKE SUPERIOR MARINE FORECAST AND MARINE WEATHER MESSAGE FOR FURTHER DETAILS.

On the St. Lawrence Seaway, things are a getting a bit dicey as well.  A few weeks ago ships were getting stuck due to heavy ice including the one in the following video, which has installed power of 40,000hp.

At the moment, vessel traffic is fully stopped on the St Lawrence because of the ice situation just above Sorel and Canadian icebreaking resources in the region are insufficient to deal with the issue.

The following shows the blocked area on the St. Lawrence, via the Canadian Coast Guard.
st. lawrence seaway ice

Do you have photos of this wicked winter weather? Shoot us an email at [email protected]

Looking for gear to keep you warm?  The gCaptain store has it!

The Helly Hansen Haag Jacket pictured below is waterproof yet breathable, a waterproof zipper pocket and an extra zipper inside which you can zip in the Red Lake Fleece jacket for really cold weather.
helly hansen haag jacket

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