Posted on: January 14, 2019
You won’t find any information about Lake Superior ice cover if you visit the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website originally set up for this purpose. The above “screen grab” from the NOAA page shows that only information about the government shutdown is provided. Click here to go to the NOAA Great Lakes ice cover page.

NOAA Ice Info Unavailable

Looking for information about Great Lakes ice cover on Infosuperior? Simple. Hit the “Tools” tab and the “Lake Research Data” link in the dropdown should take you to the “Animated View of Historic Ice Cover” that compares present ice conditions to previous years…

That’s where the trouble starts. The NOAA site providing ice conditions automatically reroutes to “” Instead of being able to access ice conditions on Lake Superior, you will find a notice to federal employees about unemployment insurance.

Searching Google for “Great Lakes Ice Cover” doesn’t help much. The top several search results say that they provide relevant information, but a quick try shows that every single one leads to “”

Superior, just like all but one of the other Great Lakes, is a binational body of water and there is interest in ice cover on both sides of the border. Although the NOAA info is not accessible at this time, the Canadian side does offer some information on Great Lakes ice cover.

Canadian “Ice Forecast”

A Canadian site ( provides “Ice Forecasts for the Great Lakes” issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada. Rather than the satellite photos accessible through NOAA, the Canadian information is in textual format. For example the January 6th forecast for Lake Superior runs as follows:

Western Lake Superior

Open water except 3 tenths new lake ice including 1 tenth thin lake ice along parts of the shore. Nine tenths plus medium lake ice including four tenths thick lake ice in Black Bay and Nipigon Bay.

Eastern Lake Superior

Open water except eight tenths new lake ice along parts of the shore.

Whitefish Bay

Open water except eight tenths new lake ice including three tenths thin lake ice along parts of the shore.

Satellite photos normally available through NOAA would complete the picture on Great Lakes ice cover, providing a very robust suite of visual information. Until the U.S. Government shutdown is over, both Americans and Canadians may have less than a complete picture of Great Lakes ice cover.

Broader Shutdown Impacts Include National Parks

Eight hundred thousand federal workers are bearing the brunt of the shutdown, but impacts have rippled across the economy, from the New York Stock Exchange to national parks:

  • Mortgage applications are delayed while the shutdown continues.
  • Publicly traded companies are unable to get approval to raise capital.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission, responsible for protecting investors, has suspended all investigations. Additionally, they are suspending review of stock offerings to raise cash and company filings for mergers and acquisitions.
  • One third of national parks are completely closed and the National Parks Conservation Association estimates that $400 000 per day in entrance fees is being lost.
  • Gates at some national parks are open, but few, if any, staff are on hand to protect park assets.
  • The shutdown’s impacts vary from park to park and some parks, which initially remained open, have been closed due to unplowed and snow covered roads, overflowing toilet facilities, human excrement on the ground around camping areas, and other health and safety concerns.
During winters when ice conditions permit, thousands of people visit the Ice Caves at Apostles Islands National Lakeshore on Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shore.

U.S. National Parks on Lake Superior

Websites for all of the U.S. National Parks on Lake Superior have front page “disclaimers” about the shutdown and include language like, “there will be no National Park Service-provided visitor services, such as restrooms, trash collection, facilities, or road maintenance.” The U.S. National Parks Service manages the following sites on Lake Superior:

Additionally, a research study set up to determine how wolves are faring after recently being relocated to Isle Royale may be called off. A statement posted January 6th on the Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale Facebook page states that, “It is our present understanding that the 61st Winter Study of Wolves and Moose in Isle Royale National Park will not be allowed during the partial shutdown of the Federal government.”


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