Great Lakes finally free of ice

Jun 10, 2014 12:00 AM

For the first time in seven months, the Great Lakes are free of ice.

The holdover winter freeze lasted almost the entirety of spring. But with just a little less than two weeks until the summer solstice, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed that the Great Lakes were free of the frozen chunks.

Only a few weeks ago, Memorial Day sunbathers could be seen sprawled out on the warm sands with giant icebergs floating in the background. And just last week, a marine warden with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources spotted a significantly sized chunk of ice serving host to a flock of resting seagulls in Lake Superior.

Finally, however, after one of the coldest winters in decades, the Great Lakes are devoid of icy bird-perches. Although a string of 80-degree days is mostly responsible for the melting, the Coast Guard also did their part, logging more than 2,000 hours of ice breaking duties this winter and spring.

Though Great Lakes residents can look forward to warmer days ahead, the water will remain rather cold for some time. And that, of course, means fog.

"It's going to be the summer of fog," said Peter Blanken, a researcher at the University of Colorado. "The water will stay really cold, but summer air tends to be warm and humid. And any time you get that combination, you're going to have condensation and fog -- basically evaporation in reverse."

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