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12:15 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Mixed Impacts Due To Record Ice Remaining On Great Lakes

Ice still covers over 20 percent of the Great Lakes surface, following a winter that nearly saw records set for the total amount of ice coverage.  As one would expect Lake Superior leads the way with about 41 percent ice coverage, but even Lake Huron was still one-quarter ice covered this week. 

Lake Michigan south of Holland this March.
Credit Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU
 

  

George Leshkevich of the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory thinks the ice coverage could have a variety of impacts.  He believes the cooler lake temperatures right now may help the fruit belt.  That's because the cooler temperatures should prevent buds from opening too early and face the risk of frost. 

Leshkevich adds it will help whitefish and some other types of fish that benefit from ice cover over their spawning grounds.   

However Leshkevich says the start of the shipping season was delayed with the Soo Locks open for a couple of weeks before any ships used them.   At least one freighter needed repairs from damage caused by ice that caused it to take on water.

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— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him acluley@emich.edu.

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