Lake Erie temperature at end of November was the coldest in decades

Lake Erie’s water temperature at the end of November fell to 40 degrees.

That’s the coldest Nov. 30 reading in Buffalo since 1976, when the lake temperature was 38 degrees.

Last winter, ice covered 92.5 percent of the Great Lakes – the most since 1979.

As of the middle of November, ice was already forming in some of the northern bays of Lake Superior. It’s the earliest the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan has on record for ice.

Water temperatures on Lake Erie right now are very similar to what they were a year ago today.

Last year, the Nov. 30 water temperature of Lake Erie in Buffalo was 41 degrees, and ice began forming on the lake during the second week in December. By Dec. 12 – after an arctic blast and round of lake-effect snow – about 10 percent of Lake Erie was already covered in ice.

Scientists said the temperature was at a lake-low 34 degrees in shallow areas near Toledo and 38 degrees near the islands off of Ohio’s shore. Surface temperatures on the deeper eastern end of the lake near Buffalo ranged from 42 degrees to 44 degrees with the lake’s deepest waters still at 46 degrees to 48 degrees.

So, there’s still a ways to go before the lake freezes.


National Museum of the Great Lakes

Visitors to the $12.1 million National Museum of the Great Lakes will find a family friendly atmosphere. There have been 8,000 shipwrecks on the Great Lakes.

The shipwrecks are compelling tales. They amount to one shipwreck every 11 days for the last 250 years.

There are more shipwrecks per surface square mile on the Great Lakes than anywhere else in the world.

The greatest number occurred in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie.

For example, the 335-foot steel Marquette sailed from Conneaut, Ohio, on Dec. 8, 1909, to cross Lake Erie to Port Stanley, Ontario.

It carried 30 railroad cars. It disappeared. It has never been found and no one knows why it sank, although some wreckage was located.

You can look through goggles to view footage that divers took of the wreckage of the Cedarville that sank in the Straits of Mackinac in 1965, after it collided with another ship.

The museum is filled with more than 250 historical artifacts from Great Lakes vessels and other sources, plus hundreds of photographs.

The exhibits cover 9,000 square feet of space in five galleries. It also features documentary videos and interactive displays.

The museum is an interesting, fresh, bright, colorful and kid-friendly place designed to attract and entertain families with compelling stories.

It is a great day-trip destination: You can easily tour the museum and the old ore boat in two to three hours.

There are exhibits on Great Lakes lighthouses (there are 326 of them), luxurious passenger ships that once sailed the lakes, the Underground Railroad, rum runners on the lakes, the 1913 White Hurricane that sank 12 boats and killed 240, and maritime technology and equipment.

You can hoist a heavy backpack like early European fur traders, learn how to pump a ship’s bilge to keep water out of leaky vessels and work together to fire the engine of a simulated coal-powered freighter.

Only 10 percent of the museum’s historical items are actually on display, officials said.

A 22-ton ship’s propeller from the lake freighter John Sherwin sits outside the museum in a small riverbank park.

But the Col. James M. Schoonmaker is easily the museum’s biggest attraction and its biggest artifact.

The retired freighter is moored on the east bank of the Maumee River next to the museum.

It was launched in 1911 and was hailed as the “Queen of the Lakes” as well as the largest bulk freighter on the Great Lakes and in the world at the time.

It carried iron ore from Lake Superior to the steel mills of Ohio and Pennsylvania, plus coal and rye.

It was mothballed about 1981. In 1986, the freighter was sold to the city of Toledo and restored at a cost of $1 million.

The Schoonmaker is open for self-guided tours: from the engine room to the cargo holds, from the owner’s cabin to the pilot house, from the crew’s cabins to the galley and dining rooms.

The museum, once based in Vermilion, is housed in the Toledo Maritime Center on the east bank of the Maumee River in Toledo Ohio.

Lake Erie Farm Bill Program Planned in Monroe Michigan

A Farm Bill update and cover crops meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, at the Knabusch Mathematics and Science Center, 6670 Waters Edge Drive in Monroe. A presentation of Lake Erie water treatment issues will be given by Tim Murphy of the Toledo Environmental Services.

Tim Kwiatkowski of the Monroe Conservation District’s Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, will present Crop-A-Syst, and a Natural Resources Conservation Service district conservationist will present Farm Bill updates. Center director Tom Green will host a brief invasive plant identification tour.

The meeting is approved as a MAEAP Phase I meeting, according to a news release. Lunch will be provided to producers but registration is required by calling the Monroe Conservation District at 734-241-8540.

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