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MARQUETTE – Recent winter weather has certainly made its presence known here across upper Michigan.

Slippery roads and tall snow banks are just to name a few. But how does that weather translate to water levels on Lake Superior?

“Compared to last year, or even last February, the water level is identical to this point last year,” said Matt Zika, Meteorologist with the National Weather Service of Marquette. “We’re down about two inches from last month but right now we’re approaching the seasonal minimum for water levels on Lake Superior usually by early March is when we’ll see the lowest water level throughout a yearly cycle and then the highest levels occur in the latter part of summer into the early fall season.”

A large part in that is where we’ve been receiving our snow from.

“The snow we’ve seen this winter has come from what we call ‘System Snow,’ so these low pressure centers that come from the plains into the Great Lakes,” says Zika. “It drops a lot of snow into the area which is actually all added water that will run off into the lake and be an additional water source for the lake.”

Water levels don’t necessarily have an impact on the weather we see- in fact, it’s the other way around. According to the National Weather Service, as of this month, about 75% of Lake Superior is covered in ice. That ice coverage on Superior is good news for those seeking more moderate weather.

“The biggest thing that the ice is actually preventing is the evaporation of the water in the lake,” said Zika. “In addition, it has a big impact with regards to the lake effect snow process. Once the ice forms on the lake it’s much harder for us to get our lake effect snow bands that dump a lot of our snow across upper Michigan.”

But that doesn’t mean winter is over just yet. Zika says they still expect a cold stretch as we head into March.