Lake Michigan’s Got (Ice) Balls
It is that time of year once again where Lake Michigan is not bashful about showing its balls...ice balls that is.
We have had a lighter winter than usual so it has taken a bit longer for the ice balls to form and float along the shorelines of Lake Michigan. It has finally gotten cold enough for the event to occur.
According to WOOD, apparently the ice balls of Lake Michigan are a local favorite phenomenon to area residents and visitors.
Normally the only ice balls I see are the ones my plow makes when I'm clearing the driveway or when I'm drilling holes in the ice for some fishing and even then, its more of ice chunks vs balls.
From what I have read, the balls of ice form with the cold weather is very consistent and the waters of Lake Michigan are banging on the shore lines pulling in hunks of snow. The water and snow mix with the right temperatures form the perfect ice balls.
We had a very warm November and December. One of the warmest I have witnessed in years. It made for great deer hunting but its not proper recipe to create those ice balls on Lake Michigan. Even January was warmer than usual until about 10 days ago. It's full on ice ball weather with temperatures getting down to 12 and 13 at night.
If you want to get a look at these ice balls, you can start in Holland where they were spotted last week and anywhere north of there, it shouldn't be too hard to find a pair here and there. As cold as it has been and will be for the foreseeable future, if you want to see the balls, you better do it soon because ice sheets will begin forming soon along Lake Michigan.
While the water of Lake Michigan is banging on the shore lines and pulling in snow, the snow chunks turn to slushy and the waves of the lake roll around these slush balls and as the balls bounce along the shoreline they grab more snow and grow. The balls turn out like pieces of a snowman.