Ice cover dwindling across Great Lakes

Feb 28, 2017

As February -- and winter -- come to a close, the Great Lakes are virtually ice-free.

Less than 5 percent of the lakes' surface is covered by ice, according to the latest data from the NOAA -- Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. By comparison, 8 percent was covered at this time last year. And in 2015, 87 percent was covered.

The remaining ice is locked into bays and narrow channels. Two of the lakes -- Erie and Ontario -- are almost entirely open. 

Those open waters have contributed to some big Lake Effect snows in upstate New York. And there's still time for a few more storms before spring hits.

But with water temperatures unseasonably high, there appears to be little chance for any significant ice formation.

Here's the ice cover and mean surface temperature for each lake:

Superior: 2 percent, 36 degrees

Michigan 6 percent, 40 degrees

Huron: 9 percent, 37 degrees

Erie: 0 percent, 35 degrees

Ontario 0 percent, 41  degrees