Great Lakes Reaches Maximum Ice Coverage

By LT Falon M. Essary, USN
U.S. National Ice Center
February 26, 2021

Suitland, MD — The U.S. National Ice Center (USNIC) has determined that the Great Lakes experienced maximum ice coverage for the 2020-2021 ice season of approximately 46.5% on February 19, 2021. This maximum occurred after rapid freeze up in Lake Erie and western Lake Superior which began in the second week of February following an outbreak of Arctic air. USNIC daily analysis of ice coverage on the Great Lakes is completed in coordination with the Canadian Ice Service as part of the North American Ice Service.

This maximum is comparable to the average of approximately 40%. However, the 2021 maximum occurred approximately two weeks earlier than average and a majority of the 2020-2021 ice season has seen below normal ice coverage across the Great Lakes.

Satellite image of Great Lakes on 20 Feb 2021
Figure 1: USNIC analysis of ice concentration and thickness on February 19, 2021
Ice concentration and thickness chart or Great Lakes for 19 Feb 2021
Figure 2: MODIS imagery on February 20, 2021. Image source: NASA Worldview.

To access daily products, weekly products, archival data and much more of USNIC data in various formats, visit the USNIC webpage at: USNIC Products

For more information, please contact:
National Ice Center
Command Duty Officer
Voice: (301) 943-6977
Twitter: @usnatice
Facebook: @usnatice

The U.S. National Ice Center is a tri-agency center operated by the Navy, NOAA, and Coast Guard and provides global to tactical scale ice and snow products, ice forecasting, and related environmental intelligence services for the United States government.

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