One more sign that this has been an especially long and nasty winter: It wasn’t until 11.25 am on Wednesday that the Great Lakes were finally declared ice-free.
That comes after more than seven months of ice coverage on the Great Lakes — one of the latest melts in four decades.
“Some sources say this is one of the latest melts since the 1970s when records began on Great Lakes ice coverage,” meteorologist Dayna Vettese of the Weather Network said in a prepared statement.
The last lake to thaw was the largest, Lake Superior.
Toronto residents will likely grimace at the memory of December’s ice storm and power outage for some time.
The deepest chill on the lakes was on March 6, when 92.19 per cent of the Great Lakes were covered in ice, according to the Weather Network.
That’s the second-highest recorded ice coverage since records started being taken in the 1970s, the Weather Network reports.
In mid-April, 39 per cent of the Great Lakes were ice covered, compared to about 3 per cent in average winters, Vettese said in an interview.
Ice measurements are taken with satellite imagery, live reports from boats and the construction of models.
“Water takes longer to warm up and cool down compared to air so there is always a delay from the lakes warming up than the air temperature,” Vettese said. “Water requires more energy to heat up or cool down. Because this winter was so cold and so much ice was able to build up, it takes that much longer to melt and break apart all of that ice.”
She said it’s too early yet to predict when winter will set in later this year.
“It looks like we should have a fairly typical summer,” Vettese said, adding that it will feel a little cold for someone swimming in the bigger lakes for the Canada Day weekend.