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St-Lawrence & Great Lakes Winter Conditions

St-Lawrence & Great Lakes Winter Conditions

As of now, the St. Lawrence River has a high concentration of ice up until Montreal; most of which is brash ice/new ice with some areas of grey ice and open water. The majority remains loose and flowing downriver along the shipping lanes due to the natural current and regular traffic on the river. This is normal and to be expected for the most part during the winter period.

On the other hand, the St. Lawrence Gulf is mostly grey and Grey-white ice with some areas of first year new ice mixed in commonly in the western portion & along the southern shore of the Estuary. A good deal of new ice is still present along Quebec North Shore.
Temperatures have been lower than anticipated for the first half of February and are expected to persist through the balance of the month and into March which will result in continued ice growth and coverage. Given the present conditions and currents it is anticipated that the remaining portion of open water in the gulf will disappear by the end of February.
Spring melt usually begins around mid-March however if temperatures remain this low the process could be delayed by a week or more. It is generally anticipated that the break up should be well underway by the end of March and we will begin seeing open water passage by the second half of April.

As is usual most of the lakes are frozen up over the winter period with Lake Erie seeing the thicker ices & heavier concentration of ices in Lake Huron and Superior.
Bitterly cold temperatures in the past few days have caused the ice cover on Lake Erie to expand to 93.5 percent as of February 15th, 2015.
This time last year, Lake Erie’s ice concentration was even greater, at 95.6 percent. This is a jump from the same time in 2013, when the ice cover was at just 48.2 percent.
Lake Erie’s ice coverage spiked in January and continued to climb throughout February. Most areas of the lake are about 90 percent frozen, with some areas reaching 99 percent ice cover.
The Lakes will remain closed until the end of March, around the 21st – 31st, these dates will be narrowed by late February and early March. For the first few weeks, it might be very slow transiting the lakes simply due to first locks operations in addition to some remaining ices that can cause delays as seen last year.

February 23rd, 2015