LAKE MICHIGAN (WZZM) – Ice cover on the Great Lakes has surpassed last year's number due to frigid temperatures and a below average summer.
"This year we are currently up to about 87 percent of the Great Lakes being ice covered," said Nathan Jeruzal, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "And last year it was about 81 percent."
Jeruzal said ice covered water is expected to reach its peak within the next couple of weeks. He added ice buildup on Lake Michigan can reduce the impact of lake effect snow because the ice acts like a land mass.
But ice coverage could have a negative effect on towns around the shoreline as well.
"There are going to be the days that if we get a wind off the lake, the areas downwind of the lake will be a little bit cooler than normal," he said. "The lake is going to take a little bit longer to warm up."
Jeff Zita, an engineering student at Hope College, flew his drone over Holland State Park Saturday to document ice buildup along Lake Michigan's coastline.