There’s little to no ice on Lake Erie: What that means for lake effect snow this season

Four people had to be rescued by the Coast Guard after a boat they were in capsized and ended...
Four people had to be rescued by the Coast Guard after a boat they were in capsized and ended up on a breakwall.(Harry Boomer)
Updated: Jan. 6, 2020 at 3:34 PM EST
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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 Northeast Ohio had frigid temperatures in early January, there was quite a bit of ice on the lake--as seen below.

90 percent 🌬

Posted by Amanda Harnocz on Friday, January 5, 2018

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

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

In order to see significant ice formation, the area 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 the lake is open for business when 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 of the Great Lakes, which means it freezes and thaws relatively fast compared to the other Great Lakes.

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