PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Ice on the Great Lakes differs every year. Normally, by the start of February, ice begins to close up Lake Erie, the closest of the lakes to Pittsburgh.
By now, Lake Erie should be 55 percent covered with ice, and it’s pretty much ice-free with ice only on 0.4 percent of it. This isn’t the first time Lake Erie has lacked ice, but, at this time last year, Lake Erie was 91 percent covered.
As of the last analysis on Jan. 31, all of the lakes combined only have 10.7 percent, which is down from the 12 percent recorded on Jan. 21. The records date back to 1973, with the total lowest ice coverage for the Great Lakes recorded at 3.3 percent in 2002. The average is 28 percent.
With above-normal temperatures in the forecast this week, it doesn’t look likely for these numbers to increase. The lack of ice on the Great Lakes still leaves the possibility of lake-effect snow showers open when temperatures turn colder.
Snowfall is also at a record low in Pittsburgh with the total for the month being 4.2 inches. This is the lowest total snowfall for the month of January in Pittsburgh this century. Records from the past two decades show the most recent January in Pittsburgh with low snowfall rates was back in 2006, where snowfall totaled to 5.5 inches.