The weather has stayed warm and windy, and it’s making a big difference to the ice. The long-term forecast still anticipates a cool start to May, but for now we’re melting ice while the sun shines.
I’ll start with two pictures taken as we climbed out of Kenora this morning.
That’s Rabbit Lake beside the nose of the aircraft. If you’ve ever wondered why it has that name, compare the shape to a chocolate Easter bunny. It’s distorted by the low angle, and the ears don’t show well, but you can get the idea. Click on this picture to see a larger version that will let you admire the open water stretching all the way from Keewatin Channel at the left to well down the Winnipeg River at the right.
Our second shot looks west down Treaty Island. This picture was hastily taken as we started to turn on course, so naturally I cut off Safety Bay on the right edge and buried Devil’s Gap under the nose. That’s Rogers Island right on our nose, and beyond that you can see water opening up in the Tangle. Still plenty of ice in the Manitou, of course.
Fast forward to our return this afternoon.
This is Whitefish Bay, down by Sioux Narrows, looking west. It’s hazy, and the lighting is flat, so at first I thought all those ripples by the windshield wipers might be open water… but no. Click to zoom in, and you can see cracks in the underlying ice; that’s surface water. Further to the right, there is real open water at Whitefish Narrows, and it has expanded in the last few days.
This is Witch Bay in the foreground. Above and to the right are Andrew Bay, Pipestone Bay, Hay Island, and Bigstone Bay. The ice is much darker, and it looks weak.
The image above is from yesterday. The image below is from today.
There’s a thin veil of cloud, but that ice looks a whole lot darker. Also, the Rainy River is eating ice at the south end. Falcon Lake and West Hawk look transformed.
To see a comparable natural-colour satellite image with some features labelled, click here or visit the FAQ page.
We’re doing much better than I expected a week ago. Instead of a mild weekend followed by below-normal temperatures, we’ve had several days of average or better warmth, with steady wind and strong sunshine. That could shorten our thaw by a few days.
The long-term outlook is improving, too. While the fourteen day forecast is still calling for a cool start to May, it now talks about returning to normal conditions by the second week, so although we may still get some cooler weather, it looks as if it could be short-lived.
Will we get set back by a spell of cooler, cloudier weather, or do we dare hope?