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James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 4.02'
Flow: 2200 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond

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Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 7:00pm
Low Tide: 7:00pm

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Great Lakes nearly frozen over for first time in 20 years

The Great Lakes, which hold nearly one-fifth of the surface fresh water in the world, are almost completely frozen over after an unusually cold winter.

The Mackinac Bridge, which connects Upper and Lower Michigan, spans an ice cover that stretches into the horizon on Feb. 11, 2014. Credit: Keith King Pool

The Mackinac Bridge, which connects Upper and Lower Michigan, spans an ice cover that stretches into the horizon on Feb. 11, 2014. Credit: Keith King Pool

As of Thursday, nearly 90% of the lakes are under a cover of ice, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

The last time they came this close to being completely frozen over was in 1994, when 94% of the lakes’ surface was ice.

If the rate at which ice has been growing continues, an all-time record could be set later this month.

“In the last one to two weeks, we’ve seen rapid accumulations on Lakes Superior, Huron and Michigan,” Michigan State University associate professor and state climatologist Jeff Andresen said.

The freeze is a major reversal from last year, when the five lakes only reached 38% ice cover.

The pier and lighthouse at Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay at Petoskey, Mich., is surrounded by thick ice on Feb. 11, 2014.

The pier and lighthouse at Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay at Petoskey, Mich., is surrounded by thick ice on Feb. 11, 2014.

The lakes’ water supply has been far below average in recent years, and the ice could prove beneficial by slowing evaporation and shutting off lake-effect snow.

 


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