All of this begs the question: Will Lake Erie freeze over this year?
Go back to last winter when we had 18 of 31 days in December with temps in the 20s. The lake water temperature went from 45 degrees on December 1st to 33 degrees on December 24th. The ice cover for December 20th looked like this:
|RED indicated 80%+ ice cover. Notice the open water in white.|
January of 2011 continued with temperatures below averages with 20 of 31 days in the 20s or colder. Ice development on the lakes tends to lag several weeks after the cold air starts. Here is the ice cover map on January 2nd.
|The ice started to develop further east|
|80% ice cover spread across most of the lake|
Finally, the ice map for January 27th.
|80% to 100% ice cover over much of the lake|
|Ice cover for December 20th|
|Even the ice coverage is less than 10%|
A two week arctic outbreak would be needed to drop the lake water temperature to 33 degrees. The current temp is 39 degrees! Remember last year, we fell below 39 on December 9th! It would take some time for the water temp to fall to 32-33 degrees before widespread ice would form. I just don't see this happening. Maybe 50% coverage by early February. If it doesn't happen by early February, the water temps will start to climb. Even last year, the water temp was in the upper 30s by the end of February and above 40 by March 13th.
All of this means that when it does get cold even for a day or two, lake effect snow will be more common and might last into February and March. Whereas last year, lake effect snow ended in mid January.
Just our luck.