National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

The last stretch of cold weather during late February into the first week of March 2014 caused ice concentration on Lake Michigan to rapidly increase. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) in Ann Arbor Michigan measures the ice concentration on the Great Lakes daily.  On March 8th, the ice concentration on Lake Michigan was measured at 93.29%.  This set a new record ice cover on Lake Michigan.  The previous record was 93.1% set in 1977.   The period of record dates back to 1973. 

The graph below shows the rapid increase in ice concentration from late February into early March.

Lake Michigan Ice Concentration - March 8

The high resolution visible satellite animation below begins on February 24th and includes several images ending on March 8th.  It shows considerable ice cover over the Lake during the first week of March.

Lake Michigan Ice Animation

Below are several images from the Grant Park and Bradford Beach areas showing the extensive ice cover at the shore, however open water was visible farther away from the shore.


Click for Larger Image

The graphic below prepared by GLERL estimates the ice thickness in centimeters on Lake Michigan.  Most of the ice to the east of southeast Wisconsin ranged from 18 to 36 cm thick or about 7 to 14 inches.

Lake Michigan ice thickness - March 8

The total ice cover on the Great Lakes from March 8th was estimated to be over 90% as depicted by the graphic below from GLERL.  The record ice cover for the Great Lakes is 94.7% set in 1979.  The lowest on record is 9.5% in 2002. 

Great Lakes ice concentration  


National Weather Service - Milwaukee/Sullivan