The question this morning was, is the ice all gone already? If I could spot no ice this morning, I was going to record ice-out as yesterday’s date: May 3rd.
My thought was, if there’s ice anywhere, it will be on Bigstone Bay. I was flying with John Sweeney, who has a property out that way, and he knew it was clear. The photo above looks over Heenan Point, which was where I found the last traces of ice this time last year. No ice.
But way off to the south west…
There’s a patch of ice so small I circled it for you. It’s somewhere south of the Barrier Islands.
Click on the picture to zoom in and see for yourself that it’s really ice.
When we came back this afternoon, I thought it might be entirely gone, but there was a small pan hanging together by Whiteout Island.
It’s doomed. The weather is warm and breezy, and the ice is in an exposed stretch of water. It won’t last until midnight. Ice-out is today.
Here’s today’s shot from Terra satellite, courtesy of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Some quick orientation: Falcon Lake and West Hawk are near the top left corner. The beige patch at the top is the cleared land around Kenora that hasn’t turned green yet. Big Traverse is the big dark water at the bottom. Sioux Narrows is half way down the right edge; Long Bay is distinctive for it’s club shaped east end. The only thing I can see on this whole picture that might be ice is three shadowy shapes at the south end of Shoal Lake. Shoal always goes a day or two later than Lake of the Woods.
Across the region, Silver Lake, east of Kenora, is clear. It’s a deep lake, and always one of the last to go. At Vermillion Bay and Sioux Lookout, Eagle Lake and Wabigoon are clear. Float planes are taking to the skies. Summer has arrived.
One last shot to show all the sparkling water near Kenora.
This view looks north west along Hay Island, with Bigstone Bay on the right, Moore Bay on the left, and the Manitou in the distance on the left. At the right edge near the top is Kenora, and almost at the horizon on the left is Shoal Lake.
So that’s it. We’re much later than I expected, and actually a day later than last year. We have a fantastic stretch of warm weather coming, so happy boating. Remember to watch for float planes; they have the right of way when landing or taking off. Also, they don’t steer or stop well, so give them a wide berth when they’re on the water.
As usual, I’ll now put the Ice Patrol to bed for the remainder of the year. I’d like to thank my co-workers at Walsten Air; all of them helped. Special thanks to the guest contributors who sent me photos, and thanks to everyone who visited, commented, emailed or followed. I’m very proud to have topped 200,000 hits in three years.
One last thing. When I’m not doing this, I write Science Fiction under the pen name of Timothy Gwyn. I’m delighted to announce that I have signed a contract with a publisher: my first novel, Avians, is scheduled for release in August of 2017. If you like, you can read more about my adventures and misadventures as a writer at my other blog, Timothy Gwyn Writes.