Ice on northern Lake Michigan is starting to cut off lake effect snow in the region.
The lake is entirely frozen over, north of Beaver Island. That means winds coming out of the northwest will not pick up moisture from the lake and drop it as snow on places like Petoskey and Gaylord.
The situation is different for Traverse City. The lake is still open to the northwest of the Grand Traverse region. Ice is slower to form there because the water is deeper but meteorologist Mike Boguth, at the National Weather Service office in Gaylord, says that should change next week. A new blast of cold air is forecast that will bring daytime high temperatures in the single digits.
Boguth says Green Bay in Wisconsin is completely frozen over already and that ice will start to reduce snowfall in Traverse City.
"I think what you’re going to see with this latest cold snap coming up is probably that ice cover extended farther out into the lake," says Boguth. "And that shortens that distance for that wind to pick up moisture off the lake."
Lake effect zones up north have received unusually large amounts of snow this winter. Gaylord and Petoskey are both more than 30 inches above average snowfall and Traverse City is 18 inches higher than average.
The National Weather Service does not keep track of ice cover with historic records.