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article imageNortheast is in for snow, winds and 20-foot waves on Great Lakes

By Karen Graham     Feb 27, 2020 in Environment
The National Weather Service is forecasting waves approaching 30 feet high for portions of the Great Lakes Thursday evening and Friday as a major storm threatens the northeastern US and up into Canada.
According to the National Weather Service, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario could see some very sizable waves Thursday night, along with storm-force winds up to 50 knots - diminishing to 40-knot gales. Freezing spray, and lake-effect snow.
There are storm warnings in effect for the open waters of Lake Ontario from the Niagara River to the Saint Lawrence River, along with blizzard warnings in effect for parts of western New York state, according to Forbes.
Swells approaching 20-feet have also been spotted on the southern portion of Lake Michigan, according to reporting from CNN. The winter storm is expected to move east into New England and then into Canada. The coast of Maine has been warned of possible hurricane-force winds, while high wind advisories stretch as far south as South Carolina.
Climate Change feedback loop
There is a scientific reason for what is happening on the Great Lakes, and it has a lot to do with that feedback loop we have talked about a number of times. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a warm winter has left the main Great Lakes largely ice-free, which churns up more lake effect snow.
This week, the lakes are only 9 percent covered in ice, compared with a typical 42 percent average coverage. That's the lowest on record since 1973. There are also a few key factors that feed the huge waves on the Great Lakes, including wind speed and direction, wave direction and fetch, and the distance over water that the wind blows in a single direction.
Other important factors include water surface temperature, water levels, and cloud cover. All these factors are taken into account in creating a Great Lakes Coastal Forecast. Interestingly, no one factor can create waves as high as those predicted without the others.
More about Northeast, Great lakes, 20foot or more waves, lakefront flooding, warm winter
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