January thaw coming after record cold

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- According to the National Weather Service, the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve was a record-breaker.

"If folks have been feeling cold to the core, there is a reason for that," said Brandon Hoving, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "Statistically, it was the coldest final week of December that we've had."

That stretch of cold included three record low temperatures, along with a record cold high on New Year's Eve. We also tied a daily snowfall record of 7 inches on Christmas Day.

This stretch of cold has lead to extensive early season ice coverage on the Great Lakes, at 30 percent. This is about twice the normal amount for this time of year. Inland lakes also have thicker-than-normal ice, which has many outdoor enthusiasts out there ice fishing already. However, warmer temperatures in the coming days could make this ice unsafe.

"So once we get into Wednesday and Thursday, it's going to be riskier and more dangerous to be out on the ice," said Hoving, "Especially when we have some rain coming on Thursday, so it's best to be safe and avoid the ice this week."

The upcoming January thaw could also lead to ice jams and local flooding along some rivers and streams by Thursday. Although the risk for this isn't particularly high right now, it's something the National Weather Service says they'll be watching for over the next few days.

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