KMSP, Minneapolis, MN - This mild winter continues to limit the amount of snow and ice in the Upper Midwest, and that limitation does not stop at the shorelines of the Great Lakes. After two icy years for the Great Lakes, the 2015-2016 winter season has much more open water available on the Great lakes. Check out the past three years below, gray is ice and blue is open water.
As of Valentine's Day 2016, the Great Lakes was just over one third covered with ice as compared to almost a 90% ice coverage for the same time period in 2014.
Once interesting fact from this past Valentine's Day weekend is that the brutal cold across the Upper Midwest increased the ice coverage of the Great Lakes from 22.1% to 34.1%, a 65% increase just over the weekend.
The more ice on the Great Lakes, the more stable the spring weather tends to be for communities near the water. It could also take warmer weather longer to settle in to the area. Since 2015-2016 is lacking so much ice, the chances for storms and active weather will be elevated come spring.