We will have to see how much ice forms on the Great Lakes over the next few weeks. But so far the Lakes are at near record low ice cover. The extent of ice cover has only been reported since 1973 and in that time most of the very low ice cover years have been since 1998. I have looked at some of the low total ice cover on the great lakes and what the following spring and summer were like. Note the years are not listed by amount of ice cover just that they were all much lower than average. The years on the list are 1987, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2016. Here is a break down on how the spring and summer were temperature wise. 1987 that spring was warm and the summer was warm with a mean in July of 74.1° 1995 that year there was a cool spring but a warm summer with the mean in August of 74.8° 1998 the year had a near average spring and summer. 2002 this year had a cold March but the summer was warm with July having a mean of 74.9° 2006 there was a near average sp°ring but a warm summer with July having a mean of 74.1. 2010 a warm spring and a very warm summer with the mean in July of 75.5 and then August coming in at 74.9. 2012 that year had the warmest March of recorded history but then had a near average April and May. However that summer had a very hot July with a mean of 79.2° and 2016 there was a cold spring but once again a warm July with a mean of 74.3° So now we shall see if this year follows the tread or maybe we have a cool spring and summer after this mild winter.
Here is are maps of the ice cover for the winter season on 2019/20 on the great lakes
Over the next week the average temperature rises just one degree with the H/L starting out at 32/19 and ending the week at 33/20 Grand Rapids gains 16 minutes of daylight next week so the case can be made that spring is on its way.