Lake Huron, St. Clair River ice expected to form quickly

BlackburnNews.com photo of Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Samuel Risley at Sarnia's government dock. (Photo by Melanie Irwin)

Icebreaking activity in lower Lake Huron and the St. Clair River is expected to ramp up next week.

Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaking Superintendent Isabelle Pelchat tells Sarnia News Today that some new ice has formed this week.

“It started first last week and it’s increasing a little bit, so you must see some ice flowing down in front of Sarnia right now,” said Pelchat. “It’s not extensive. It’s really new ice. But we’re getting there.”

Pelchat said the waterways will really start to freeze up by next week.

“We’re already seeing on Lake St. Clair the ice is growing, and expanding, and thickening at the same time. So, we expect that we’ll see the same thing going on with the St. Clair River and most likely in the southern part of Lake Huron.”

Pelchat said ship captains must stay up to date on current and forecasted weather conditions right now, because things can change quickly.

“We provide a daily briefing through our coast guard electronic notification site. So, we talk about the weather conditions, the ice conditions and the operations performed by our ice breakers.”

Pelchat said vessels are currently navigating the area just fine.

“The Canadian Coast Guard has deployed two ice breakers (to the Sarnia area) for this winter, so the Griffon and the Samuel Risley will be active.”

Pelchat said the Canadian icebreakers always work in close collaboration with United States Coast Guard icebreakers to make sure the waterways are safe.

The water temperature varies between one and four degrees right now.