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Why does this winter feel more 'typical' than past winters? Jaclyn Whittal explains.

Great Lakes completely free of ice (finally)

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    Andrea Bagley
    Digital Reporter

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 11:25 AM - After 7+ months of ice coverage and over 2000 hours of ice breaking, the Great Lakes are finally completely clear of ice.

    SEE ALSO: Great Lakes water quality suffering: YOU can help 

    According to Weather Network meteorologist Dayna Vettese, the brutally cold and long winter is to blame for the late melt of the ice on the Great Lakes.

    "Water takes longer to warm up and cool down compared to air so there is always a delay from the lakes warming up than the air temperature," says Vettese. "Water requires more energy to heat up or cool down. Because this winter was so cold and so much ice was able to build up, it takes that much longer to melt and break apart all of that ice."

    In comparison to previous years, this is certainly a later melt.

    "Some sources say this is one of the latest melts since the 1970s when records began on Great Lakes ice coverage.," Vettese says. "The coverage on the Great Lakes this year peaked on March 6 at 92.19%, which is the second most ice coverage since records began."

    Lake Superior- March 6 (NASA)

    Lake Superior- March 6 (NASA)

    Lake Superior- June 8 (NASA)

    Lake Superior- June 8 (NASA)

    So what does the late ice coverage mean for summer activities such as swimming, fishing?

    "Basically, this means summer activities on the water will be a bit colder and a bit delayed," Vettese adds. "If you normally are brave enough to jump in the Great Lakes by the Canada Day long weekend, you may get a colder plunge than you’re used to. This can also affect the local “feels like” temperature as the lakes are a bit colder than normal so a wind off the late will feel a bit cooler."

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