Lake Ontario forms ‘pancake’ ice as recent cold persists

Weather Blog

Featured image above courtesy of Chief Meteorologist Eric Snitil

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – Our winter so far has been mild with both December and January running between 3-4 degrees above normal. Lake ice has been hard to come by through the first half of winter; up until now that is. First we’ll check in with the latest ice cover over the Great Lakes. If you want to check out some neat ice formations over Lake Ontario, check out the lower half of this post!

Ice Update

Our recent cold blast was finally able to bring some more ice cover to the Great Lakes, including Lake Ontario. Over the past couple weeks, the Great Lakes total ice cover increased from around 2% to 15.6%.

Data courtesy:

Swipe back and forth to compare Lake Ontario ice concentration and ice thickness below:

Lake Ontario ice concentration and thickness courtesy

The latest ice concentration over Lake Ontario is not substantial by any means, but it’s a vast improvement comparing it to the past seven days. Most of the current ice is confined to the outer edges separating into two main sections: one just north of Rochester and Irondequoit Bay, and the other just east of Sodus Bay to the eastern end of the lake towards Oswego.

Ice Photos

You can check out some of the latest ice captured in the photos featured below.

Webster ice courtesy @PZonLAKEOntario on Twitter

Photos above courtesy of Chief Meteorologist Eric Snitil. First photo shows a wind-whipped spray depositing layers of ice at Ontario Beach Park. Second photo shows ice extending about a quarter mile from the shore.

Photos above courtesy of @joey_frascati on Twitter

Ever hear of pancake ice? Now you have!

These fun ice formations can form over slushy waters over the lakes during the winter. As chunks of ice collide they form elevated, rounded shapes that almost resemble lily-pads.

Safe Ice Reminders

As shown in the images above, the thickness of ice is not nearly enough for any activities such as ice fishing quite yet. Remember you should never walk on ice less than 2″ thick with 3-4″ used as a general rule to follow.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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