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Do the Great lakes freeze over?

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  • Do the Great lakes freeze over?

    I heard that only lake Eire freezes over completly, but do the other lakes freeze enough to drive on? Can you drive on a lake when it is only half frozen?

    I guess when they freeze over the lake effect snow stops?

    I thought there was no way that the water could stay liquid when it is that cold out.
    16 ft runabout w/ 70 hp evinrude
    26 ft grampain sailboat


  • #2
    Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?

    It has been many many years since Lake Michigan froze over. Last year the ice went 12 miles out. The longest in recent memory. When I was a kid I remember the ice went out a long way out from Bark River in the UP. I think my grandfather drove us kids to Green Bay on the ice, my mother was fit to be tied then. I thought grandpa said the ice was 6" deep though.
    The reason I do what I do is in the avatar above.

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    • #3
      Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?

      do shipping companies keep running ships on the lakes over winter, i know there are some shipping routes on lake michigan.
      16 ft runabout w/ 70 hp evinrude
      26 ft grampain sailboat

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      • #4
        Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?





        They have and ice breaker fleet
        If a dirty bottom slows you down what do think it does to your BOAT

        1970 Cal 29 Sea Fever
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        1981 J24 Tangent 2930
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        • #5
          Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?

          Go here and see the current satellite imagery of the lakes. If it's cloudy you can't see anything.

          http://coastwatch.glerl.noaa.gov/modis/region_map.html

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          • #6
            Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?

            I went north over the mackinaw bridge tuesday morning and it was open from one end to the other.
            When I came back south wednesday afternoon it was frozen from one end to the other with some jumbled up ice in the current.
            The Soo locks are closed this time. Shipping is basically at a standstill till spring.
            Often Wrong,
            but never in doubt!

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            • #7
              Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?

              Last year Lake Huron froze a lot further out than it has in recent years due to the cold temps. There are years where there may be no ice at all. I've got some sweet pictures of the ice caves, frozen waves, and huge icebergs/floes.

              The shipping in the great lakes has slowed to a crawl these days with demand for basic materials like limestone in China falling the last few years. The fact that housing starts have declined means low demand for all sorts of commodities. The locks at Sault Ste. Marie are barely active these days with no freighter traffic to speak of.

              The waves will keep ice from forming quite a bit, when calm a skin will form pretty quickly, only to be broken when the wind picks up.

              The lake effect snow will always be able to pick up some moisture, since the lakes don't come anywhere close to freezing all the way across. Last year we had an extra football field of ice on our beach, great for snowshoing
              sigpic
              '79 16' Starcraft SuperSport
              12' AeroCraft '55 Johnson 5.5hp
              Starcraft brochures thread

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              • #8
                Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?

                How deep are the Great Lakes? That would prevent them from freezing over because as the water gets colder (up to about 2-3 degrees Celsius) the water gets more dense and sinks. So as the water cools down it will sink to the bottom and warmer water moves up to the surface. Until the entire lake from top to bottom is in that 2-3 degree range they won't be able to freeze.

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                • #9
                  Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?

                  How deep are the Great Lakes?
                  Erie- 210 ft Avg 62ft
                  Huron- 770 ft Avg 195ft
                  Michigan-923 ft Avg 279ft
                  Ontario- 808 ft Avg 283ft
                  Superior- 1,332 Avg 483ft
                  sigpic
                  '79 16' Starcraft SuperSport
                  12' AeroCraft '55 Johnson 5.5hp
                  Starcraft brochures thread

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                  • #10
                    Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?

                    Originally posted by bowman316 View Post
                    ... Can you drive on a lake when it is only half frozen?...
                    Half frozen is also half liquid! Does your car float?

                    I wouldn't drive on any of them. Maybe Erie, if I saw other people doing it, but none of the others!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?

                      If the floe is thick enough you can set up a whole shanty village on it let alone drive on it. You just hope it doesn't seperate from land. Hundreds got trapped on one last year.

                      Is it me, or are we moving? Nahh.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?

                        I remember when I lived in Sandusky, OH in the '70s that lake Erie routinely froze up all the way across. There were always stories about some crazy fool who decided to drive across. Sometimes they made it all the way... sometimes they didn't.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?

                          Lake Erie freezes every year. It does not freeze completely over very often but it does happen. It also does not freeze flat. There are many pressure ridges and cracks that can be 10 feet or more high. Only once about 20 years ago did I see people driving vehicles on the ice. Usually only quads or snow mobiles for ice fishing.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?

                            Many years ago Niagara falls froze up so much that the river below stopped flowing.
                            home is where we drop anchor

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                            • #15
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                              Re: Do the Great lakes freeze over?

                              Seems like every year there are people adrift on ice flows on erie. Last year there was a few fatality,s.

                              Qoute:Ottowa County, Ohio sheriff Bob Bratton, didn't mince words when asked about ice fishermen who apparently ignored signs that the ice was unstable on Lake Erie, leaving one man dead and 125 so-called fishermen to be rescued in a massive operation on Saturday: "If there was a section in the code about common sense, we would have made about 150 arrests out there today."
                              sigpic I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.

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