Lake Michigan ice coverage is well below average so far this year

The latest estimates of Lake Michigan's ice coverage are below average for the winter season so far, running at only 1.7%. The average ice coverage around this time is about 15%, 13.3% more than it is right now. This is due to consistent above-average temperatures over the past six weeks, since the start of Meteorological Winter in December.

As a result of the mild air temperatures we've experienced, Lake Michigan water temperatures remain above average, as well, with an average temperature of around 40°F.  Average water temperatures typically range from 35°F to 38°F on Lake Michigan this time of the year, with the coldest temperatures occurring in March. 

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Although ice coverage on Lake Michigan remains low, and water temperatures a bit mild, a significant cold spell could quickly drop temperatures and add ice on the lake. The long-term outlook does bring a considerable cold spell to the area late in the month, which should increase ice coverage though early February.