Increasing temperatures and shifting winds pose hazardous ice conditions on Lake Erie

CLEVELAND – The U.S. Coast Guard is advising all Great Lakes residents and ice fishing enthusiasts to be aware of possible ice floe breakaways in the coming days.

“Any persons on the ice should be aware of the potential hazardous conditions,” said Paul Angelillo, Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, Command Center.

The National Weather Service forecasts that an ice floe may be set adrift in the western basin of Lake Erie this weekend. The northern half of the western basin of Lake Erie is now ice-free with extensive ice coverage over the southern half of the lake. Winds are forecast to remain from a northerly direction which will help keep the ice locked to the southern shore through the next few days. However, winds are forecast to shift to a southwest direction Saturday night and increase in speed on Sunday.

Temperatures are expected to warm up into the upper 30s and lower 40s over the weekend. The combination of the warmer temperatures and shifting winds along with expected sunshine will cause hazardous conditions on the ice over the weekend.

A large ice floe could potentially break away from its anchor to the islands and shore of Ohio and drift toward Canada. For anyone venturing out on the ice this weekend, there is a danger of becoming trapped on the ice as the ice begins to break away.

The Coast Guard reminds all citizens that Great Lakes ice is dangerous and unpredictable, especially during seasonal temperature transitions.

To encourage personal safety and awareness, the Coast Guard recommends everyone to abide by the following:

I – Intelligence
C – Clothing
E – Equipment

  • Intelligence – know the weather and ice conditions, know where you’re going, and know how to call for help.
  • Clothing – have proper clothing to prevent hypothermia.
  • Equipment – have proper equipment: marine radio, life jackets, screw drivers/ice picks, etc.

For more information on weather conditions on the Great Lakes, CLICK HERE.

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