Great Lakes are 80% frozen over for first time this century

For the first time this century, 80.4% of the Great Lakes are frozen over. In Central New York, Lake Ontario is 25-30% frozen over.

CNYCentral First Alert Chief Meteorologist Wayne Mahar says the freeze is significantly impacting lake-effect snowfall.

"The more that Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and all the Great Lakes are covered by ice, the less in the way of lake-effect snow," Mahar explained. "Because what you're doing is essentially putting a tarp on top of the water, the moisture source to form the lake-effect snow."

Some who have lived their entire lives in Oswego are both impressed by, and in awe of, the frozen lake.

"It's amazing," said lifelong resident Ralph Smith. "It's something I've never seen before. I've lived here all my life. It's quite a scene."

"Just to look at it, it's beautiful," said Kathy King, who has lived in Oswego her entire life. "And, you know, on windy days, you just see the snow coming up on the frozen lake, and it's just beautiful."

At the United States Coast Guard station in Oswego, guardmembers train weekly for ice rescues, and are prepared if anything happens on Lake Ontario.

"We always expect an ice rescue," said Coast Guard member Timothy Duffy. "With the conditions, we have a full crew here 24/7. We're always ready to go when the time comes."