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Lake Superior reaching full ice-up

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Saturday, February 8, 2014, 2:03 PM -

You don't need us to tell you it's been cold, but exactly HOW cold is it?

How about cold enough to almost completely freeze Canada's largest lake?

Take a look at this shot of Lake Superior, shot by NASA's TERRA-MODIS satellite on February 6.

Image: NASA

Image: NASA

Around 92 per cent of Lake Superior, whose 82,000-square-kilometre surface Canada shares with the United States, is frozen over, an extent of ice coverage the lake doesn't usually reach until a month from now.

If it does freeze over completely, it will be the first time since 1996 that the massive body will be fully frozen (although even that year, forecasters reported some spots here and there that were still open).

Incredibly, another of the Great Lakes is even closer to being that threshold.

Image: NASA

Image: NASA

Lake Erie is actually at 96 per cent ice coverage, and in early January the ice was already the thickest it had been in the previous two decades.

As of Friday, the average Great Lakes ice coverage stood at around 78.5 per cent according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S.

Lake Ontario's paltry ice covering might give the illusion that communities on its shores have got off lightly, but that part of the country has had its share of horridly cold weather.

And the lack of ice covering makes for ideal lake-effect snow conditions, with straight-line winds driving the snow inland, such that some lake shore communities were in for some severe snow squalls late last week.

RELATED: Read about what's behind Canada's seemingly never-ending cold this season.

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