Recent extreme weather patterns and sub-zero conditions across the Upper Great Lakes region have blown away forecasts of yet another year of below-average ice cover. The recent polar vortex spikes Great Lakes ice coverage. Currently, four out of the five Great Lakes are significantly above average reported ice coverage data. Except for Lake Superior which is near its average ice coverage norm for this date in the year.
In 2011, the US Army Corps of Engineers were forecasted lower Great Lakes Water Level in 2012 for Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron.
Given the number of raw materials and agriculture affected, the reduced number of shipping days and access to key ports typically cost jobs and impact the United States economy. Each year, the amount of iron ore alone shipped through the Soo Locks is $500.4 billion.