Temperatures are rising in the Great Lakes region, but a significant amount of ice on Lake Erie remains. According to the Buffalo News, about 50 percent of the lake is still covered in ice, meaning the Lake Erie-Niagara River ice boom might not be removed for another two weeks.
The Niagara ice boom consists of steel pontoons that stop ice from entering the river.
The ice boom stops ice from damaging shoreline properties on the Niagara River and from clogging New York Power Authority intakes. It consists of a series of floating steel pontoons that are anchored to the bottom of the lake near its outlet to Niagara River.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Steve McLaughlin said the ice looks relatively mild in the lake, but that it’s still somewhat congested in the eastern basin. This is typical, he said, as the winds in the lake are usually from the southwest, which pushes ice to the eastern basin. Authorities must wait for the majority of this ice to melt away before removing the boom, at which point the remaining ice will be released into the river.
Those who live along the river inappropriately blame the boom for cold temperatures in the springtime, McLaughlin said. Records show that the average springtime temperatures for the area before the boom’s first installation in 1964 are comparable to what they have been since then.
“People always blame the ice boom because it’s cold in Buffalo in the springtime, but it’s cold in Buffalo in the springtime because of the ice,” McLaughlin told the Buffalo News. “The boom isn’t the reason the ice is there. The ice is there because it was cold all winter and it clogged up the lake.”
Ice boom removal at least two weeks away [The Buffalo News] Image Credit: http://www.boatnerd.com/news/newpictures04/NiagaraRiverIce%E2%80%A6-3-28-04-B.jpg