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Another byproduct of the extreme cold this winter -- near-record ice cover on the Great Lakes. The lakes are generally about half frozen over this time of year, but this winter ice is covering nearly 80-percent of the Great Lakes system . Lake Superior, the largest of the five, is 92 percent frozen, shattering a twenty-year-old record. Ice cover affects everything from hydropower generation to commercial shipping and fishing. If the cold keeps up, this winter could be historic, breaking the all-time record of just under 95 percent ice coverage that was set in 1979. [Graphic: Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/glcfs.php?hr=00&ext=ice&type=N&lake=l]
The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory also reported that as of Sunday Lake Michigan was nearly 62-percent covered in ice, up dramatically from 52.9% just two days earlier. Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Chicago say fairly light winds and bitter cold over the next couple of days should result in a significant expansion in the amount of ice on the lakes.
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