The recent onset of very cold temperatures have lowered Lake Michigan water temperatures into the low to middle 30s over the shallower near shore waters along the western shore. The water temperature measuring sensor at the Sheboygan shoreline is measuring right around freezing. These conditions along with recent offshore flow has allowed a few areas of ice to develop over the nearshore waters around Racine and Wind Point, and farther north around Manitowoc.
The below high resolution visible satellite image was taken earlier Wednesday, December 11th, and shows the small ice areas. Also notice that relatively shallow Lake Winnebago has already iced over, while deeper Lake Mendota in Madison remains clear of ice. (as does Green Lake).
Much more ice is visible in the northern part of Lake Michigan, east of Escanaba and southern Green Bay.
The cold conditions are expected to continue through the upcoming weekend. Moderate ice formation is expected across the west shore of Lake Michigan, especially in bays and harbors.
The National Weather Service in Cleveland monitors ice formation on the Great Lakes and has issued an Ice Advisory for western Lake Michigan. Take a look at the latest Ice Advisory and Outlook.
Onshore winds are expected to develop later Friday and continue Saturday which may slow the ice formation, at least temporarily.
Check here for the latest ice analysis from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.
National Weather Service - Milwaukee/Sullivan