March 1, 2017: Welcome back

Hi, everyone.

Over the last few weeks, I have received quite a few notifications as new people signed up to follow Ice Patrol, and I notice website traffic is up recently, too. So I offer warm greetings to both old friends and new acquaintances. Welcome to Ice Patrol 2017.

We had some record-breaking warm daytime high temperatures in Kenora this February, and even one or two nights where the temperature stayed above freezing. A similar thing happened last year, and I jumped to the conclusion that we’d have an early thaw, and fired up the Ice Patrol early.

I got schooled. Last year, after that false start, spring temperatures plummeted back down and stayed miserably cold for weeks. I ended up doing a lot of extra flights with little to report. This year, I won’t try to jump the gun. I regard the recent mild spell as something of a fluke, and sure enough, it all  refroze stronger than ever.

One ice-fisher reported to me that he had drilled through about 20″ of ice before the warm weather melted the snow cover and formed a layer of water and slush. When temperatures returned to normal, all that slop froze solid, and now there’s well over two feet of clear blue ice, at least where he was checking.

That sounds depressing, but it’s not really a bad thing. Getting rid of the snow is a basic first step in the annual thaw. We’ve had a fresh layer of snow since then, but it’s thin.

Here’s what Lake of the Woods looks like to the MODIS camera on the Terra satellite, as of February 28th.


Photo used with permission of Liam Gumley at the Space Science and Engineering Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Fun fact: that’s a colour photo; there’s just not much colour in our landscape right now.

There’s more mild weather coming soon, and I’ll have some good opportunities for  Ice Patrol flights before mid-March. We’ll take a closer look then.

8 thoughts on “March 1, 2017: Welcome back

  1. Super excited to see this ice patrol report…….makes me think spring is coming……😄

  2. Welcome back Ice Patrol. We are on Middle Island now with our car at the dock on March 1. With the thaw/refreeze you can drive anywhere. Looking forward to your reports.

  3. Great to have you firing this up again. I was in Kenora for #hockeyday in Canada and got out on the ice road. Pretty sloppy that week with snow sculpture melting away. A nice tease of spring. Look forward to your masterful work yet again this spring. Thanks for this. An awesome ease toward break up through your eye of the lens.

  4. Thanks for your first posting. Still a long time to go but can start counting down the days now

  5. Glad you are back, love the photos right through to break up, you’ve become a sign of spring like the DQ opening and the seagulls returning.

  6. Welcome back!! We look forward to your reports!! 😊 As we stay out on middle island over ice out. The last two years and counting.

  7. Your posts are a sign of spring…thx for taking the time to share with all us who anxiously await to get our boats in! Love your photos and sense of humour, that sneaks into your posts. Those of us who follow you greatly appreciate you taking time to keep us all in the loop! Fly safe!

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