Although the actual summer solstice isn’t until June, many people view Memorial Day Weekend as an unofficial start to summer.
Between that and the rapid rise in temperatures, it seems spring won’t get its due this year. Despite the warm weather, however, icebergs and floes still wander the waters of Lake Superior. Ice cover can still be seen from Marquette to Chassell.
The bitter cold of winter allowed the ice to form deep and the below average temperatures in April and early May prevented the usual melt, which isn’t the first time it’s happened.
Steve Fleegel with the National Weather Service said, “The last time we saw ice cover pretty similar to this was in 1996. In early June of 1996 there are some pictures out there of people grabbing icebergs from the lower harbor and the upper harbor area and having them on the beach, so it’s a very similar situation to that. That was a case when we had a lot of ice on the lake, a pretty cold springtime and then it finally turned over so looking back it’s pretty similar to that year.”
If winds remain light the remainder of the ice should melt away within the next couple of weeks. Now that summer is on the way, though, a big concern is whether the prolonged cold will tame the warmer weather.
“When we went back and compared some of the past winters that we had really cold temperatures and then looked at how the springs and summers turned out, more often than not we ended up with a cooler summer and a lot of that depends on how the pattern evolves, but the odds are we’re going to have a normal or a cooler normal summer.”
As usual, cities along Lakes Superior and Michigan will see cooler weather, while towns in the U.P.’s interior will will experience a warmer summer.
Lake Superior is actually at normal temperature for this time of year while Lake Michigan is slightly below average.