Posted at: 02/09/2014 9:54 AM
CHICAGO (AP) — This winter's bitter cold temperatures in the Midwest have covered a stunning 79 percent of the Great Lakes in ice.
It's not a record, but it's well above the long-term average of about 51 percent.
Lake Michigan is about 63 percent frozen. And the second largest lake in the system, Huron, is about 85 percent covered.
Lake Erie, at 93 percent, has the most ice cover.
The data comes from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.
It tracks the ice cover because of its potential impacts on everything from hydropower generation to commercial shipping and fishing.
Studying the ice cover also helps determine climate patterns and water levels.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)