23 February 2020

Lake Erie is Nearly Frost-Free

Posted by John Freeland

MODIS image of Lake Erie, 22 February 2020 (labels added)

For the past couple of days, we’ve been lucky to have some all-too-infrequent sunny days, giving us some sunshine to lift our spirits and send us searching for our sunglasses. The clear weather is also a good time for an updated MODIS image of the Lake Erie Basin. The image above shows the lake is nearly ice-free except for some narrow shoreline areas in the western basin.

The surface water temperatures on the lake, as shown in this NOAA graph, are above freezing and a bit warmer than the 1992-2019 average for this date.

Snow cover in the region is limited to those areas near the eastern basin of the lake. From my recent work travels, my impression is that farm fields are drier this year compared to last year at this time, which is good news for farmers.

Around the southeast portion of the image (western Pennsylvania), there are some good examples of dendritic stream patterns outlined by the partial snow-cover.