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Why Isn’t There Any Ice On Lake Erie?

WOIO Cleveland logo WOIO Cleveland 1/6/2020 Samantha Roberts
a close up of a map with Great Lakes in the background: Ice © Provided by WOIO Cleveland Ice

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Due to a warmer-than-normal December and early January, there is little to no ice on Lake Erie.

This is par for the course this season, as we have not had any sustained cold outbreaks yet this Winter.

In fact, total Great Lakes ice cover is only 1.3%, so it isn’t just us.

Just two years ago when we had frigid temperatures in early January, we had quite a bit of ice on the lake.

With some thawing and re-freezing, we had massive chunks of ice pushing up against the shore.

Giant slabs of ice invading the shores of Lake Erie

Currently, the average water temperature on Lake Erie is 37°.

In order to see significant ice formation, we would need a major, sustained Arctic outbreak that lasts for at least three days.

According to the latest forecast from the 19 News First Alert Weather Team, this will not be happening any time soon.

The weather team is only forecasting one sub-freezing day around here over the next seven days.

Temperatures will punch into the 40s and 50s Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

The peak for ice on Lake Erie typically occurs during the second half of February.

Of course, open water means that the lake is open for business with it comes to lake effect rain and snow.

Keep in mind that in order for lake effect snow to occur, you need cold air flowing over those open waters.

Lake Erie is the most shallow Great Lake, which means that is freezes and thaws relatively fast compared to other Great Lakes.

Time will tell and we will see how the rest of the Winter goes.

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