DUNKIRK – Lake Erie is covered in less than one percent of ice as the winter season enters its peak.
The National Weather Service in Buffalo says the lake should be near 50% coverage by the end of January, but due to mild temperatures so far this winter the lake has not yet iced over.
In addition to protecting the region from Lake Effect Snow, the ice generally keeps the coast safe from waves pounding the shore, eroding cliffs, washing out beaches and damaging shoreline infrastructure.
In December, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory forecasted Lake Erie to be 80 percent ice covered by late February.
All the Great Lakes were predicted to be 47 percent ice covered at their peak.
Last year, the lake peaked at 95 percent ice coverage on March 2. In 2017 the lake peaked at 36% and in 1998 at 5%, the lowest amount of ice in recent memory.