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      Warmer lake means more snowflakes?

      It's the warmest start to a year ever recorded at the National Weather Service in Marquette. And the records date back to over half a century ago.

      Lake Superior water temperatures are close to the warmest they've ever been, even on the open water away from the shores.

      It's all thanks to the mild winter and warm spell that we saw in March, leading to one of the least amounts of ice cover on Lake Superior in history.

      "That's partially why we're seeing some of these warmer temperatures now and why we'll probably continue to see some of these warmer temperatures through the rest of the summer as well, just kind of gave it a head start," said Jane Marie Wix, National Weather Service Meteorologist.

      And a lot of folks want to know how this affects the lake-effect snow outlook for the upcoming winter season. But a warmer summer doesn't necessarily mean a snowier winter. Remember 2010?

      "We actually ended up with less lake-effect snow for that year. We were about ten inches below normal on our snowfall for that year," Wix said.

      On a chart showing Lake Superior's average temperature, you can see this year as the black line and the recent warmest year, 2010, as the red line. The coolest recent year, 2009, in yellow, is pretty far from 2010 during the summer, but typically, temperatures fall closer to normal by the winter, no matter how hot the summer.

      "We usually have some storms that kind of get the waters riled up a little bit, mixing those temperatures back down to normal," Wix added.

      But forecasters say the next three months will be warmer than normal in Upper Michigan, keeping Lake Superior more comfortable for swimmers.