According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, approximately 60 per cent of the Great Lakes is covered with ice which could pose danger to shipping operations.
The percentage of ice covering the lakes has doubled from 30% last year. This increase in ice is a result of a polar vortex that has engulfed the lakes.
A supervisor of operations for the Canadian Coast Guard said, “The current winds… and with the cold, compresses the ice, it solidifies the ice and makes it very difficult to escort anybody through that.”
On Saturday, the Canadian and U.S. coast guards will commence ice-breaking operations on Lake Michigan and will trekk into Lake Huron, including Georgian Bay.
Ice jams stranded three ships on the Detroit River on Jan. 6. and if the cold temperatures persist, it could lead to more ice jams which translates into more ships becoming wedged in the ice.
On the positive side, scientists say the ice coverage provides protection to some species and prevents low water levels.