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Great Lakes Become Nearly Covered With Ice

February 14, 2014

By John Flesher, The Associated Press

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CHEBOYGAN, Mich. - It`s been so bitterly cold for so long that the Great Lakes are almost completely covered with ice for the first time in 20 years.

The last time they came this close was in 1994, when 94 percent of the lakes` surface was frozen. As of Wednesday, ice cover extended across 87 percent. That`s according to the federal government`s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

Sections of the lakes harden almost every winter. But scientists say that over the past four decades, the average ice cover has receded 70 percent, probably in part because of climate change.

The deep freeze is more than a novelty. It may help replenish water levels by limiting evaporation, and it could help sustain some species of wildlife.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Story Image: This Feb. 11, 2014 photo the pier and lighthouse at Lake Michigan'’s Little Traverse Bay at Petoskey, Mich., is surrounded by thick ice. (John Flesher, AP)

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