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Lake Erie ice update for Feb. 8

After an impressive increase of ice coverage after the arctic blast, the ice has begun to dwindle once again this week.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Prior to early February, the most ice that had been measured on Lake Erie occurred after the Christmas Blizzard in Buffalo.

Ice coverage had been at a steady decline since, until the first weekend in February brought bitterly cold temperatures. 

Lake Erie's ice concentration peaked after that on Feb. 5, with an ice coverage on the lake of 40.18 percent. Unfortunately, a temperature swing in the other direction after that arctic blast has lead to ice decline once again, with a current coverage of 20.97 percent.

Lake Erie's water temperature in Buffalo is also currently at 34 degrees, rising two degrees within the past week. 

And while the new spike in ice concentration was a promising sign, these days with spring-like temperatures have limited the ice from sticking around. Furthermore, there hasn't been a consistent cold stretch to allow ice to thicken. That's one reason why we're seeing the drastic rise and fall in ice correlating with the rise and fall of temperatures. 

Typically, Lake Erie's peak ice coverage for the season is in mid-late February. But long range computer models show a slightly above average temperature trend for February. This would limit ice development and allow of the amount of ice on Lake Erie to continue to shrink. 

What Lake Erie would need another extreme cold snap followed by a period of seasonal or below average temperatures to both allow ice to develop and then stay through February and into March.

At this point, that is not very likely.

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