Polar Vortex: Great Lakes Freezing Over in 20-Year Record

This winter has given us the largest Great Lakes freeze the Midwest has seen in nearly 20 years, experts say.

The world's largest group of freshwater lakes, the Great Lakes have nearly an 80 percent freeze rate this winter. By February 6, authorities say that the lakes came to 78.9 percent frozen.

Not since 1996 have the lakes seen as much frozen surface.

Lake Superior is 92 percent frozen over its surface, breaking the old record of 91 percent frozen set in the winter of 1994.

As to the others, Lake Erie is at 95 percent, Huron is about 88 percent covered, and Lake Michigan is at 53 percent frozen. Ontario, the deepest of the lakes, is only at 29 percent iced.

Some wonder if the 1979 record will be broken. In '79 the Lakes reached a 94.7 percent freeze rate.

The long-term average of surface ice is a mere 51 percent, so this winter has for sure gone above and beyond that.


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