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Great Lakes become almost totally covered with ice for first time since 1994

Great Lakes
Great Lakes
Getty Images / Reuters

The polar vortex and bitter cold is causing havoc for anyone and everyone no matter where they may be. Now, the Great Lakes are suffering as well. Yahoo News reported on Feb. 14, 2014, that the Great Lakes are almost totally covered in ice for the first time since 1994 when 94 percent of the lakes' surface was completely frozen.

The Great Lakes are almost totally iced over.
Getty Images / Reuters

The crew of the icebreakers are having a lot of issues getting through them, and the ice slabs are sometimes as big as boulders.

On Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, ice was said to cover 88 percent of the Great Lakes' surface.

"That arctic vortex came down, and the ice just kept going," said George Leshkevich, a physical scientist with the federal lab.

Now, there are parts of the Great Lakes that freeze over every winter, but nothing like this. The Coast Guard does have a fleet of nine icebreakers that clear the way for vessels hauling cargo, but this year, they have been working a lot more.

Usually, an average of only 70 percent of the surface of the Great Lakes ends up frozen, but it has gone up considerably this year.

The arctic/polar vortex has shown no let-up in the bitter cold and the ice has not had the chance to thaw-and-freeze as it normally does. Now, it's causing tons of problems and will keep on doing so as winter continues.

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