Record heat swept across the Upper Midwest last week, with highs in the mid to high 80s across Michigan. Signs of spring, and even early feelings of summer for sure, but it had a significant impact on the Great Lakes.

Because temperatures were so high, the lower four of the five Great Lakes saw a significant rise in temperature, some even creeping into the 60s.

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Now, as someone who is new to following Great Lakes news, this sounds like good news to me, because I was told we wouldn't be able to jump into the water until MAYBE the end of June. This could accelerate that process.

As of right now, though, temperatures are STILL dangerously cold. The majority of the Lakes are still in the "hypothermia" zone, which is surface temperatures in the 50s... which the majority of the Lakes are still exhibiting. But parts of the lakes near the coasts of Lakes Michigan and Eerie crept into the low 60s far sooner than usual.

Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

The Navy Pier in Chicago showed a more than 10-degree jump from 46 degrees to 57 in the span of one week. Most places only saw between 5-9 degrees in temperature change.

All of the significant increases came close to the shores. Out a little deeper, the water is still VERY cold in the 30s and 40s.

SO... the question remains... when can I go swimming in Lake Michigan? Answer: Probably still June. I've never been able to go into one of the lakes. Never been even remotely close to a body of fresh water this big, so when that time comes, you better believe I'm gonna wade out like a little kid and take it all in.

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