UPDATE: Coast Guard completes ice breaking on Great Lakes

UPDATED Friday, May 16, 2014 --- 1:40 p.m.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) -- More than five months of ice breaking on the northern Great Lakes has been completed by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard says Friday that operation Taconite ended Thursday and encompassed all of Lakes Superior and Michigan, the northern half of Lake Huron, the St. Marys River and the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas.

Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie ran the 160-day operation which included more than 5,000 hours of ice breaking for convoys. Nearly 950 commercial ships were assisted.

The Coast Guard says the past winter season is believed to have produced the thickest and most expansive ice cover on the Great Lakes in the past 35 years.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Saturday, March 8, 2014 --- 2014

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard is beginning to break the ice on Lake Superior and officials say the process will be difficult this year.

The director of the Coast Guard's Vessel Traffic Services, Mark Gill, says it's the most ice he's seen on the lake in 25 years. Gill says the record-setting cold winter has ice exceeding 42 inches on the Superior side of the harbor and up to 36 inches of plate ice on the Duluth, Minn. side.

Gills tells Wisconsin Public Radio that they'll use commercial tugs to help get boats moving by March 17.

He says the "lakers" are already asking for help to leave the harbor later this month. The Soo Locks are set to open March 25.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press
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Posted: Saturday, January 11, 2014 ---7:22 p.m.

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) -- Ships using Lake Superior are having a tough time due to the worst build up of ice in decades.

Wisconsin Public Radio News reports (http://bit.ly/1aaYocK ) the National Weather Service started tracking freeze-ups in 1978, and says this is the second-fastest and thickest ice-up in 35 years. Coast Guard Soo Vessel Traffic Director Mark Gill says this is the worst since 1989.

On Friday, the Coast Guard said traffic was halted the four days before for several hours each day.

Gill says a trip from Duluth, Minn. to Gary, Ind. that normally would take three days now takes six to seven.

Gill says many ships on the Great Lakes are tying up early for the winter. The Soo Locks close Wednesday.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


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