The bitter cold temps that blast Chicago early this season caused ice sheets on Lake Michigan to form earlier than usual, and the ice is disrupting some holiday plans in the city.
The ice has prompted the cancellation of at least one New Year’s Eve cruise in the area as plans for Shoreline Sightseeing’s Fireworks Cruise on Lake Michigan came to halt this week.
“Due to extreme cold weather condition, Shoreline will not be operating a New Year’s Eve fireworks cruise for 2013,” the company posted on its website.
At the start of the week, more than 13 percent of Lake Michigan was covered by ice. This time last year there was no ice at all.
Last year, it reportedly took until Jan. 22 to see this much ice on the lake, and predictions show up to 62 percent of the Great Lakes will be frozen over the winter season, which usually sees an average of 55 percent, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Coast Guard says the ice has complicated annual operations to retrieve buoys and other water navigation aids that would be damaged under the ice, and ice-breaking operations are underway to make way for commercial vessels throughout the area, the Tribune reported.