Being retired and living in the Detroit suburbs, I have easy access to two Great Lakes (Huron and Erie), one good lake (Lake St. Clair), and a couple very fine rivers (the St. Clair and Detroit). Fall and early winter were mostly comparatively warm, so I saw little ice on these bigger bodies of water. I’d been watching the weather forecast and knew we were in for an extended arctic blast, so I took time to check out my nearby lakes and rivers in early January. This week, I braved single digit temps to see what had happened partway through the two-week superchill.
THE DAILY BUCKET IS A NATURE REFUGE. WE AMICABLY DISCUSS ANIMALS, WEATHER, CLIMATE, SOIL, PLANTS, WATERS AND NOTE LIFE’S PATTERNS.
WE INVITE YOU TO NOTE WHAT YOU ARE SEEING AROUND YOU IN YOUR OWN PART OF THE WORLD, AND TO SHARE YOUR OBSERVATIONS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.
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Pakalolo posted a recent story about winter 2023-24 Great Lakes ice formation. This Daily Bucket is an update and boots-on-the-ground report.
Don’t just look at the title photo and think all is well. Lakes St. Clair and Erie are very shallow and freeze quickly. With a warm up and rain in the forecast, I don’t expect much of the ice will last. Meanwhile, let’s start with the big picture, courtesy of the U.S. National Ice Center, as of January 2nd, with virtually no ice on any of the Great Lakes:
And here’s the status as of January 14th:
An improvement from the beginning of the year. And about the same level as this time last year, which is shown in the bottom left map. But, the long term trend is not good. Here’s this year’s ice formation compared to the past 50 years, with the average highlighted in the dashed line:
Time for photos! I’ll follow the water’s current and start at Lake Huron and end at Lake Erie.
St. Clair River
I don’t have any photos of the river from January 17th, but it looked nothing like this. Although there was little ice, the river was as choppy as I’ve ever seen it. The downstream current (left to right) was at war with the wind coming from right to left, with gusts up to 29 mph. This created huge swells, moving upstream against the current. It was not hospitable for ducks. I didn’t stick around either.
Lake St. Clair
Weather, road conditions and time have kept me from visiting Lake Erie since this photo. Hopefully another Bucketeer or Kossack has some information or photos to share.
What’s up in nature in your area?