Shipping Season Begins

BAY MILLS, MI – The U.S. Coast Guard’s fleet of ice breakers have been plowing through a lot of frozen water in the last week, prepping for last Sunday’s opening of the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie.

Ships are now traveling through the locks, carrying the first cargo loads of the season into the upper Great Lakes.

To clear a path for them, the Coast Guard’s cutters – and one from the Canadian Coast Guard as well – have been busy breaking ice paths on both sides of the Soo Locks.

Aqua MODIS image, courtesy of NASA
Last Friday, a satellite captured a picture of one of the ice paths: A corridor through the ice from Bay Mills, near the locks, to Whitefish Point. The 26.5-mile path cuts across Whitefish Bay and gives the freighters a way to access the open water out in Lake Superior.

The photo was shared this weekend by the National Weather Service in Marquette.

“The U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian Coast Guard have been cutting through the ice in Whitefish Bay to open the shipping routes for the start of the 2018 shipping season on Lake Superior.

“(Friday’s) high resolution satellite image from the MODIS instrument onboard the Aqua polar orbiting satellite showed the path that has been cut through the ice.”

Ice cover early this spring is at near-normal levels in the Great Lakes, the NWS said. Right now, large areas of ice remain in the Straits of Mackinac, Green Bay and Whitefish Bay.

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