Hi, I’m back. A few people contacted me to ask if there would be an Ice Patrol this spring as, thanks to the pandemic, I am now retired from flying.
Yes. Yes there will. Naturally, with me not flying, there will be fewer aerial photographs. I’m fairly sure there will be some, because I still have friends flying.
Note to pilots: if you’re flying over Lake of the Woods between now and May, I’m eager to receive photos. If you have more than two or three, please carefully select just a few of the best.
Calling all drone operators: if you’re visiting the lake, why not take your drone along? You might get some nice shots of your camp, and if you happen to see any open water, I’m always keen to know where. Again, please don’t swamp my mailbox: two or three pictures is usually about right.
Email select pictures to icecaptain(at)outlook.com Please include a little information about when, where, who and how. Why is optional.
Please note; it is not possible to send me pictures using the comment box. That’s for text only.
I’ll be adding a DONATE form to the Ice Patrol website. If I can raise enough money, perhaps I’ll be able to take a plane out for a short flight.
Now let’s talk about the winter. 2022 has been unusually cold so far, and also very snowy. Last Saturday, the temperature dropped to an astonishing -28°C outside. That’s close to the record, by the way: March 12th in 1956 edged us out, dipping to -30.6°.
An average temperature range for mid-March is overnight lows of about -11°C and daytime highs of right around the freezing mark. Yesterday and today we went above freezing for the first time.
I’ve been keeping in touch with Sean Cockrem, the guy who does all the pretty temperature index graphs. He reports that we have already achieved the second coldest accumulated freezing index* in recent years, and we still have more freezing temperatures to come.
*Sean tracks the severity of the winter by totalling the daily mean temperatures. In winter, this is a negative number that drops lower day by day, and graphing it gives a quick visual on how long and cold a winter is. This gives us an idea of how much ice will have formed.
That means we can expect the ice to be thick and the thaw slow. Heavy snow cover will act as a thick and reflective blanket of insulation, protecting the lake ice from spring’s warm air and sunshine.
Warning: there is very deep slush under the snow. Be wary if travelling on any lake.
By the way, if you’d like to meet me in person, I’ll be speaking at the Common Ground storytelling event on April 9th at Seven Generations, 240 Veterans Drive. I’ll be doing a twenty minute presentation on what I’ve learned watching the thaw for over thirty years, and I should have a couple of minutes for questions. Tickets go on sale March 15th and will be available at both the library and at the museum at a cost of $35 payable by cheque or cash. The ticket includes lunch and refreshment breaks. This event sells out fast so be sure to let your friends and family know.
I won’t be posting very often just yet. Lake of the Woods is about as frozen as it gets.
That’s all for now. Hope for the best, but be prepared for a late thaw.
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