Frozen Lake Erie
The deep freeze that has gripped much of the country in recent weeks has hit the Great Lakes particularly hard. In fact, Lake Erie is now nearly completely covered in ice.
The ice cover has risen to about 95 percent, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The phenomenon is enough to alter weather patterns for the region, which every year deals with lake-effect snow. This snow is created when a storm moves over a big body of water, such as Lake Erie, and picks up moisture evaporating from the lake’s surface. The storm carries that moisture to outlying areas, eventually dumping heavy snowfall.
With Lake Erie virtually frozen over, however, its water won’t be able to evaporate so easily. That means less lake-effect snow, scientists say. The frozen lake may also mean fewer cloudy days for the area.
Last year, the lake ice cover grew to as much as 80 percent. This season, arctic winds coming down from the north have been especially fierce, resulting in a wider and deeper ice cover.
The other Great Lakes are also experiencing more ice than usual for this point in the season, officials said.
Source: “Lake Erie ‘Essentially’ Frozen Over,” GoErie: http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140125/NEWS02/301249884