Nearly Frozen Great Lakes Make for a Wonderful Winter Time

Everyone in the Midwest seems to be having a wonderful time on the nearly-frozen Great Lakes, and we're definitely cool with it and not feeling bitter in the gross Northeast. 

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The Great Lakes have been mostly frozen over for weeks now, and meteorologists think they could stay that way despite a recent thaw. Which is good news for those cold-resistant Midwesterners who have been making enviable use of the frozen winter wonderland this month.

The Duluth News Tribune wrote today that some ice covering the Great Lakes has melted in recent days, and that now only 62 percent of the lakes are frozen over. The Tribune adds that "you'd get wet trying to walk across any of them." At their most frozen, on February 13, 88 percent of the lakes were covered in ice. Lake Superior hit a high of 94 percent ice coverage in mid-February, and is now down to 77.5 percent. Lake Erie, at 84 percent, remains the most frozen, while Lake Huron is at 73 percent, Lake Michigan is at 30 percent and Lake Ontario in the measly single digits.

Last week, NASA released photographs of the frozen lakes taken from space and they look pretty spectacular in ice.


The lakes also look pretty great from down here, and locals and tourists alike have been doing an impressive job of exploring the winter wonderland. According to The Wall Street Journal, tens of thousands of visitors have checked out frozen caves and waves:

"We love it that people have discovered how wonderful it is here, despite the fact nature is challenging them," said Bob Krumenaker, the park's superintendent... Most people come by car, but with just 50 parking spaces, many visitors are having to walk for miles along the state highway just to reach the trailhead. Some couples arrive on cross-country skis and snowshoes, and parents tote bundled children in oversize sleds. Once inside the caves, kids slide down icy drops on their rear-ends, landing with a hard thump on the floors, and teenagers pose for pictures beneath the icy fringed arches.

They do look pretty beautiful.

Frozen sea cave on Lake Superior, Feb 15. Reuters

Dressed for a frozen trek across Lake Superior, Feb 15. Reuters

Crawling through a frozen arch on Lake Erie, Feb 17. Reuters

View from an icebreaker on Lake Michigan, Feb 12. AP

Aerial view of Lake Huron, Feb 13. AP

According to a CBS local news affiliate, ice caves along Lake Superior reopened after the weekend. The ice caves have attracted more than 60,000 visitors since January 15, which is more than one-third of the average visits per year.

Meanwhile, those of us in New York City are confronted by vast piles of trash no longer hidden by mounds of dirty, frozen snow. This is how our winter looks right now:

Enjoy your winter, Great Lakes enthusiasts. We hope ours is over soon.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.