The long-lasting winter ice on Lake Superior is causing a shortened summer season for communities along the north shore.

Great Lakes temperature map

Lake Superior is always the coldest of the Great Lakes, but ice cover that lasted until June 6, 2014 makes it especially cold this year. (Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory)

The ice didn`t officially leave the big lake until June 6th this year and that means continuing cold temperatures for lake-side towns like Marathon and Terrace Bay.

`"It has been cold and rainy and really not warm," said Terrace Bay resident Michelle Malashewski. "I haven't been down to the beach. The black flies are terrible because we have no heat, like they swarm you. So people aren't out and about doing stuff."

"We just started getting into the teen temperatures," Malashewski said.

George Leshkevich

George Leshkevich says unless there is a heat wave, it's unlikely that Lake Superior will warm up to its usual summer temperature before it starts to cool down this fall. (Supplied)

While air temperatures along the north shore are expected to be more seasonal this week and next, it`s likely Lake Superior will remain the coldest it has been for several years, according to George Leshkevich, a physical scientist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

The lake-wide surface temperature is about 12 degrees, nearly three degrees colder than the long-term average, Leshkevich said.

That is bucking a long-term trend of warming in Lake Superior, he added.

"Temperatures have been warming, especially in Lake Superior,"  he said. "This past year  the extensive ice coverage was unexpected."


  • A previous version of this story stated that the lake-wide surface temperature is nearly a full degree colder than average.
    Aug 07, 2014 1:23 PM ET