Did Lake Michigan completely freeze over in the cold winter of 1976-77?

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Dear Tom,
Did Lake Michigan completely freeze over in the cold winter of 1976-77?

Anthony Sender,
Palatine


Dear Anthony,
Lake Michigan become about 90 percent ice-covered in the 1976-77 winter season. It was only one of three winters during which the lake came close to freezing over; the other two are 1903-04 and 1978-79. Reports that snowmobilers had attempted to cross the lake circulated then, but the attempts allegedly failed due to a corridor of open water in the middle of the lake. The winter of 1976-77 brought a string of 43 consecutive days below freezing, Chicago’s longest. Sub-freezing temperatures began on Dec. 28, 1976, and continued through Feb. 8, 1977. They occurred in a winter with a succession of Arctic outbreaks and 22 mornings with temperatures zero or lower.

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