Yesterday, Ice Patrol and I took a day off, as poor weather meant I had no pictures to share. I felt a warm spell and then wind and wet weather should have made a big difference, but I had no way to see how much, and I didn’t want to speculate.
But today the sun came out, and we got some answers. Both Aqua and Terra satellites got good shots with their MODIS equipment today.
There are big changes visible in the few hours between Aqua’s pass and Terra‘s.
It looks as if the lake has lost about half of its ice. Normally, I’d say things should go fast from this point, but they already are!
The nice weather brought out the pilots, too, and I received a lot of pictures today. Tom Hutton had a chance to take a great series of pictures of the east side of the lake as he flew from Fort Frances to Kenora in sunny (but very bumpy) conditions.
You can click on Tom’s pictures to see larger, zoomable versions with more detail.
Tom’s route brought him to Lake of the Woods at roughly Nestor Falls. Lots of water here now.
Then Whitefish Bay, which we seldom get pictures of.
In this shot, it looks like Whitefish Bay has entirely melted. But we need to take a closer look at the northern part of the bay.
Turns out there’s still extensive ice on the north half of Whitefish.
Whitefish Narrows is just below the blade tip. These narrows are actually early to thaw, but this year it has taken some time for that open water to spread into Whitefish Bay.
Still ice in Yellow Girl Bay. And plenty more to the north west.
This shows almost the full stretch of the Barrier Islands. The Elbow is at the left, and French Narrows are near the middle. Lots of ice south of the Barrier Islands, which is typical. The distant ice is the Manitou.
In the picture above, Birch Island is above the centre, and part of Whisky Island is at the right edge. Almost all ice here, as this is another late-thawing area.
We’re getting closer to Kenora now. The curved beach at Scotty Island is just at the right edge of the frame.
Wildcat is in the centre. The foreground ice touches Hough Island and sticks to the shore of Thompson Island at the left. Holmstrom’s Marsh still looks icy.
Treaty Island dominates this picture, with Shragge’s Island just by the propeller spinner.* Notice how the ice roads are holding on between Treaty Island and Rogers Island, just above the engine nacelle.** Further left, by the tip of the propeller blade, the ice roads around Gun Club Island in Rat Portage Bay are breaking up and moving around. That’s significant, because Gun Club Island is usually late to break free.
*The shiny cover at the centre of the propeller is called the spinner. It’s like a hubcap, but very firmly attached.
**The streamlined fairings that cover the engines on a twin-engined airplane are the nacelles. On this King Air, the nacelles are painted white.
I wanted to see Pine Portage Bay, because Barb Enders sent me two pictures of Northern Harbour on the weekend. The first was taken just before noon on Friday. The second was taken on Sunday morning, just 46 hours later, and there was a spectacular change in the condition of the ice.
Looks like the ice is still holding on there. At the right of the photo, you can see that Bigstone Bay is still ice-covered, too. Slow currents mean that Bigstone usually lags behind.
Our last shot from Tom shows the downtown Kenora waterfront and part of Coney Island. Thanks, Tom!
There are still sizeable pans of ice south of Coney, around Goat Island and Johnson Island in Rat Portage Bay. Most years, once those were gone, the Coney Island footbridge would be removed to facilitate boat traffic. But not this year.
The Coney Island footbridge was damaged by wind and ice on Monday evening. You can read about it on Kenora Online.
So that’s one sign of spring we’ll have to do without this year, but there are others.
The first floatplane docked on the Kenora harbourfront today. River Air’s Caravan will be followed by more of their planes tomorrow. The pilots who brought it down from Minaki, Jamie Clemmens and Robyn Warken, took some pictures for me, but there were technical issues, and I’m still working on that.
Josh Broten took some pictures today, too, and they’ll round out the lake coverage with photos of the south west portion. It’s getting late, so I’ll put them up tomorrow morning.
The weather outlook for the next while is a mixed bag, with more cloud and some showers. Temperatures will be mostly back to near normal, but with cooler conditions as the weekend arrives, naturally. Things should recover a bit a few days later.