March 25, 2023: Satellite Saturday

Hi! I’m not posting every day yet, as things are still pretty frozen.

For the same reason, I haven’t been pestering my pilot and drone operator friends for aerial views (yet).

However, I thought you might like to see for yourself what the satellites can show us.

Remember, you can click on these images to see them in full resolution. 

Here’s an image from the Sentinel 2 satellite from Thursday. I’ll start with the Highlight Optimized Natural Colour version, because it shows the outline of the lake best.

Sentinel 2 satellite image of Lake of the Woods from Thursday, March 23, 2023.

It’s pretty obvious from this picture that the lake is essentially frozen from shore to shore.

In the Shortwave Infrared version, a few patches of open water stand out.

Sentinel 2 satellite image of Lake of the Woods from Thursday March 23, 2023.

Showing up as black patches in the infrared view, open water can be seen near Kenora, at the headwaters of the Winnipeg River, and also out in Keewatin Channel and the adjacent Second Channel.

I was surprised that there wasn’t a similar patch of open water down by Big Narrows, so I zoomed in for a closer look at that area.

Sentinel 2 SWIR view of Big Narrows from Thursday, March 23, 2023.

There are a few tiny spots of open water visible here near the centre of the image.

Now, I’m not going to go over the entire lake with a magnifying glass, because it’s pretty obvious where we stand. However, if you’d like to check out a particular area of interest, here’s a link to the Sentinel Hub. This satellite provides very zoomable images, and there are lots of cool filters to play with. Knock yourself out.

The downside with Sentinel is that it only passes by every few days, and it’s field of view is narrow, so sometimes it gets the Whitefish Bay side, and sometimes it gets Shoal Lake, and sometimes it’s not even close. Throw in some cloudy days, and we can’t count on Sentinel 2 every week.

Which brings us to the MODIS satellites, Terra and Aqua. They’ve been passing over Lake of the Woods every day like clockwork–one in the morning and one in the afternoon–for decades*.

Of course there’s a catch. The MOD in MODIS stands for MODerate resolution. Lake of the Woods is just a tiny part of what the MODIS system sees, and you can’t zoom in to see much detail. Rabbit Lake is about the smallest thing you can make out.

You can’t zoom in on this image. If you click on it, you’ll see a version with some helpful place names overlaid on the picture.

Terra had good conditions for imaging Lake of the Woods yesterday.

MODIS image of Lake of the Woods from Terra satellite, March 24, 2023, in false colour.

You can’t put too much trust in comparing a Terra image to a Sentinel one, because they use different filters and so on, but if anything, I’d say there might be less open water after another cold night.

*Terra was launched by NASA in 1999, and crosses the equator northbound when it’s morning in the Americas. Aqua launched in 2002, and crosses the equator southbound in the American afternoon.

Both satellites image the continental USA every day, and luckily for us, the pictures include all of Lake of the Woods and as far north into Canada as Big Sand Lake.

That’s the good news. Sadly, the MODIS satellites are reaching the end of their mission. After nearly quarter of a century, their orbits are beginning to drift off track and off schedule. NASA plans to de-orbit both Terra and Aqua this summer. This is the last spring we’ll have their help on Ice Patrol. I’ll be sad to see them go.

Last I heard, no comparable replacements are planned.

Milder weather is finally here, but you should make the most of it this weekend. Monday night is forecast to be cold again. -17ºC as I write this.

Naturally, I’ve been following the long-term forecasts, too. After a string of La Niña years, we’re switching to an El Niño pattern, and we may be in for a cool, dry spring.

Here’s a screengrab of a Weather Network graphic for the long-term spring outlook. You can click on it to see the fine print. I had hoped to post a link to the entire presentation, but I cannot find it today.

So we may not see an early inflection date* this year. Their 14-day outlook is not rosy, either.

*For review, Inflection Date is the term we give the day when the Mean Daily Temperature goes above freezing on  a lasting basis. Even after that appears to happen, sometimes we have to wait a week to see if the mild temperatures are sticking around.

Let’s finish with something a little more positive.

A number of people took the time to tell me their ice thickness measurements or estimates. Overall, the numbers ranged from 20 to 30 inches, with the majority falling in the 25 to 30 inch range. That’s not bad for late March, when we often see ice augers bottoming out at over three feet. Forty inches, or just over a meter, is not uncommon.

Ferg Devins reported that a large hole he was monitoring showed an increase in ice thickness overnight during our recent cold spell.

Signs of Spring:

The Goldeneye ducks are back. They’re hardy little critters, or lazy migrators, depending on how you look at it. They are a very early sign of spring.

I saw my first pair of Canada Geese just the other day. They’re not as eager as the Goldeneyes, so that’s a bit more hopeful.

I’ve been hearing more songbirds, and some of them have been pooping on my car. Umm… yay?

May 4, 2022: Startling Change

I had a chance to go flying today. Quinn Wilson, one of my former colleagues, was able to take me for a flight in one of MAG Canada’s Rockwell Aero Commander 500s.

We went for a tour of the northern half of the lake. I took quite a lot of pictures, and here’s a selection of the most informative.

You can click on these photos to see a larger, zoomable version.

Rat Portage Bay and Safety Bay.

The usual shot taken shortly after take-off. At the left edge, Rat Portage Bay is showing an increased amount of open water; it approaches Gun Club Island now.

We flew west to check out Clearwater Bay.

Clearwater Bay and Deception Bay.

Most of Clearwater and Ptarmigan are still frozen over.

Deception Bay.

But there is some open water around the marina in Deception Bay.

Ash Rapids.

I wanted a closer look at Ash Rapids to see if there was more open water than yesterday. I think yes, a little.

Southwest end of Big Narrows.

Big Narrows is practically wide open now. Of course, the routes to it are still frozen.

Wiley Point.

From Big Narrows, the open water has spread as far as Wiley Point.

From there, we cruised over to look at the Barrier Islands.

Crow Rock Pass.

Spotted some open water at Crow Rock Pass, and there’s a tiny bit near Twelve Mile Portage, too.

The Elbow.

Developments around the Elbow look more dramatic. I’m sure there’s more open water here than in Justin’s pictures from just thirty hours earlier.

Queer Island and French Narrows.

And where we saw weakening ice yesterday, there are growing patches of open water around Queer Island.

Next, over to Bigstone Bay.

Eagle Pass.

There’s still just a very small patch of water at Eagle Pass.

Scotty Island, Nanton Island, Town Island.

I’m keeping a close eye on the waters approaching Scotty Island, as this is an area of dynamic change. I think there’s a visible difference since yesterday.

Lastly, a look at Devil’s gap from the Rogers Island side.

Rogers Island and Devil’s Gap.

Ice in this area always holds out longer than you’d expect. In fact, this very spot was the reason Ice Patrol started in the first place,  But there is noticeable change here, too, as the water opens up towards Galt Island.

I hope to go flying with Quinn again in a few days. Thanks, Quinn!

In summary, there was a surprising amount of change in one day. Patches of rotten ice opened up dramatically, and most areas with open water saw at least a little expansion.

The latest MODIS image bears that out.

MODIS image of Lake of the Woods from Aqua satellite, May 4, 2022, in false colour.

Here’s the matching shot from yesterday.

MODIS image of Lake of the Woods from Terra satellite, May 3, 2022, in false colour.

Black patches of open water seem larger in today’s image. Although the lake is still about 95% ice-covered, whole swaths of that ice have turned darker, indicating that it is thinning or weakening.

The weather: tomorrow we might see above normal temperatures for the first time in weeks. The Weather Network says a high of 16°C, slightly above seasonal norms of around 15. Environment Canada thinks we might make it to 18°C. Friday’s supposed to be similar, but the weather will be a few degrees cooler on the weekend, and rain is expected to start on Saturday night and last a few days. I was recently reminded by retired meteorologist Louis Legal, that it’s not the actual rain that destroys ice. It’s the high humidity that comes with the rain, and the energy transferred when water vapour condenses onto snow or ice. So I expect rapid change for the next few days. We could be approaching a turning point.

The Lake of the Woods Control Board has announced that the Norman Dam will soon be going wide open. You can read the full announcement at the preceding link, but the gist of it is that there was record precipitation in April, so the lake has been rising fast and will continue to do so. The lake is already at 95th percentile levels, and it is predicted to reach the highest allowable levels by mid-May. Even at maximum flow, the dam cannot drain the lake as fast as it is filling up, so the dam will be opening all the way on May 7, in an attempt to get a head start.

Signs of spring: Loons are back. I thought I spotted some yesterday, but today I was able to confirm it with Derek, an experienced birder who has seen and heard them clearly. Oh, I guess that’s another sign of spring: the birders must be getting more active, because I met two today. On a more urban level, the street-sweepers are out. This also sparks joy, but in a less poetic way.

April 4, 2022: Fresh Aerial Photos

Please join me in welcoming a new contributor, freshly licenced pilot Joel Wiebe. He flies a vintage 1953 Cessna 170B, and has a camp out on Middle Island, so I look forward to pictures of that area from him in the near future.

In the meantime, today’s pictures are of Keewatin Channel, Rat Portage Bay and Safety Bay. Why is there so much emphasis on this area right now? Well, for one thing, it’s where the water is. Nearly everything else is frozen, and if you’ve seen one stretch of lake ice, you’ve seen them all.

Poplar Bay and Holmstrom’s Marsh, in the foreground, Keewatin Channel in the centre of the picture.

You can click on these pictures to see a larger version. I had to compress the images a little to upload them, because modern digital cameras, including the ones on smartphones, create very large image files.

Rat Portage Bay, with the open water of Safety Bay in the middle distance.

Thanks, Joel.

This is the second post on Ice Patrol today. There is an update to the previous post. Scroll down past Paul Leischow’s first drone panorama, and if you don’t see the word UPDATE in bold red text, hit refresh on your browser. The updated version now includes a link to Paul’s matching panorama from exactly one year earlier.

Two Ice Patrol posts in one day must be a sign that things are heating up.

Signs of spring: I saw five Canada geese today. I think I might have seen some gulls, but they were too far away to be sure.

Ice Patrol Advanced User Tip:

When I wanted to find the Ice Patrol post with Paul’s drone panorama from last year, I used the search tool on the right-hand sidebar. Entering “drone” or “Leischow” in the search field gave me a list of posts, showing the first sentences of each and offering a Read More option.

This tool works on anything I’ve tagged, and I apply a lot of tags to each post. This entry has tags for Poplar Bay, Holmstrom’s Marsh, The Tangle, Joel Wiebe and so on.

You can use this method to hunt down posts about your favourite part of the lake.

One more reason to visit the Ice Patrol website, even if your primary approach is to subscribe to the email list.

March 16, 2022: It was a very cold winter

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) 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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July 19, 2021: US Border Update

The Canadian government has announced that starting on August 9th, fully vaccinated Americans will be allowed to visit Canada for non-essential reasons.

For more details, see this CBC News article.  It goes into what the rules are if you have kids under twelve, and so on.

Fully vaccinated means you must have had your final shot and waited the fourteen days for it to take full effect. You have to have a recent negative test for Covid, and there are other strings attached, too.

To prevent the line-ups at the border from getting unmanageable, you have to pre-register your vaccination status and some other details online, using ArriveCAN. It wouldn’t be practical for the immigration and customs agents to review people’s documents at the border, because there will be many different types of proof, depending on which state travellers were vaccinated in.

To learn about or download the ArriveCAN app, see here.

The current Covid situation in Kenora is quite good. We have only one active case of Coronavirus in Ontario’s Northwestern Health Unit, after several days in a row of none at all. The NWHU includes Kenora, Red Lake, Dryden, Sioux Lookout and so on. That one positive test is in Kenora.

In the meantime, we’re having a hot, dry summer. There are over a hundred forest fires burning in Northwestern Ontario. Kenora’s air quality looked like this today:

Approaching Lake of the Woods District Hospital on the Trans-Canada Highway.

Reported visibility at the Kenora Airport has been as low as 1/4 of a mile today. That’s poor enough to prevent aircraft from departing from the airport, even under Instrument Flight Rules.

Naturally, there is a ban on fires: we are in a Restricted Fire Zone, which means no outdoor fires, not even for cooking, and not even with a grate, fire pit or fireplace.

I also have personal news. After my temporary layoff dragged on for over a year, the company had to make it permanent in June. I am no longer employed as a pilot, and will probably not be returning to flying.

I hope to continue doing Ice Patrol with contributor photos, as I did while grounded by the pandemic for the last two springs.

April 22, 2021: Scattered Pans

There’s still a little ice, but it won’t impede boaters much.

I’ll start with a satellite image from yesterday morning.

If you click on this image, you’ll see landmarks tagged.

Terra satellite’s MODIS image for April 21, 2021, in false colour.

It looks as if the south end of the lake is completely clear now, but there’s still significant ice on Shoal Lake, and some small patches around the Manitou and the Barrier Islands.

Now fast forward to yesterday evening, when Justin Martin snapped a few shots at sunset.

You can click on these pictures to see a full-size version.

Downtown Kenora, Devil’s Gap.

The area around Kenora is clear. Even Gun Club Island, at the right edge of the frame, and Rogers Island, near the center, which are late to thaw because of ice roads, are open.

The Manitou.

Out on the Manitou, only scattered pans remain. This shot looks south east from over Welcome Channel, with Thompson Island and Wolf Island in the foreground. Whiskey Island is at the right edge, and Scotty Island is at the left. Right in the middle of the picture, glowing in the sunlight, is Manitou Island. As you can see, there are some ice pans out there, but it looks as if you could simply go around them if they were in your way.

The Barrier Islands.

Meanwhile, the ice by the Barrier Islands is also disintegrating. This shot looks south east with Shammis Island in the center and Mather Island to the left. Beyond that are Allie Island and the Elbow. There are patches of ice both north (lower left corner) and south (right of center) of Shammis, but they don’t amount to much.


Shoal Lake.

Here, we’re looking south west down Shoal Lake with Helldiver Bay in the foreground, and Martinique and Galt Islands near the middle of the shot. There’s still some pretty extensive ice on Shoal, and it’s common for Shoal Lake to clear a few days later than Lake of the Woods.

Today’s forecast is for sunny skies, south breezes, and a high of about 13°C. I think that’ll just about finish off the ice on Lake of the Woods. I kind of hope so, because tonight the temperatures are expected to drop to about 1°C, and then stay there all day Friday. With snow, probably.

I’m going to put my patio furniture out on the deck today, but I’ll be bringing the cushions in this evening.

April 11, 2021: New Aerials

Kelly Belair and his kids have contributed aerial photos starting last year. Here’s what he sent me today.

We’ll start with the ones taken yesterday, Saturday April 10.

You can click on these pictures to see the full-size version.

The Elbow.

Kelly flies a Maule, and the photographer on this flight was his daughter, Taylor Belair. So this shot looks south at the Elbow, which is the gap in the Barrier Islands between Allie Island, on the left, and Mather Island on the right.

French Narrows.

Here’s another passage through the Barrier Islands: French Narrows lies between East Allie Island (the twin points at the left of the photo) and the mainland of the Eastern Peninsula. This shot looks north, with Andrew Bay in the corner to the right of the wing strut.

Poplar Bay, Holmstrom’s Marsh, The Tangle.

North east over Poplar Bay, with The Tangle near the center of the shot and Holmstrom’s Marsh at the right edge. Kenora is near the upper left corner.

Then this lovely shot.

Water bomber near Cross Island.

It’s not very often I have to figure out the location of someone’s photo that doesn’t have even one whole island in it, but we’re looking roughly north west, and that’s Cross Island with Turnbull Island in the background. (I don’t actually know all 14,000 islands; Kelly gave me a hint, he said it was near Keewatin.)

Lower Black Sturgeon. 

Looking north or north west at Lower Black Sturgeon, with Black Sturgeon Narrows out of frame at the right edge.

For fun, Kelly also sent me this picture he took on April 5 of last year.

Holmstrom’s Marsh, Welcome Channel.

Haha, you say: look at all the ice.

Well, it’s probably going to snow tonight. Plus other lovely forms of precipitation like drizzle and freezing drizzle. Because I put the summer tires on ten days ago. Luckily, I’m not travelling much.

Even with that, we’re still doing much better than most years. We’ve only fallen behind if you compare this spring to the exceptionally early ones.

Signs of spring: I saw a pair of Mallards today. Also Caroline found a tick on our dog, Ebony*. Yay.

*Ebony is new. Our (mostly) Husky, Piper, succumbed to complications of Lyme Disease earlier this spring. She was only six. It was lonely without a dog in the house, so we have adopted two-year-old Ebony from A Dog’s Life.

April 6, 2021: Andy Zabloski

Tom Hutton and Andy Zabloski were out in one of the MAG Canada King Airs today, and Andy snapped some aerial photos for us.

You can click on these to see a larger, full screen version.

Downtown Kenora, Rat Portage Bay, Safety Bay.

Yesterday’s sunshine and heat (we topped out at 17°C) did a number on the ice along the Kenora waterfront. Kenora Bay, where the MS Kenora and the Whitecap Pavillion are,  is ice free this afternoon, and Safety Bay, in the middle of the photograph, is almost entirely open. Rat Portage Bay, on the left, is usually slower to melt, but the ice looks really rotten.

Rat Portage Bay, Gun Club Island, Keewatin Channel.

This second shot looks slightly south of west. Treaty Island dominates the foreground, with Rat Portage Bay to the right and Gun Club Island  at the right side. The water near the middle of the picture is Keewatin Channel, and you can see that the open water there extends past Anglican Island to Crowe Island and Forrest Island.

Holmstrom’s Marsh, the Manitou, the Barrier Islands.

Facing south, and looking over Holmstrom’s March across the Manitou to the Barrier Islands. At the left edge of the frame is the western tip of Scotty Island, and at the right side are the Slate Islands, and at the very edge is one of Whiskey Island’s points. The ice on the Manitou is always slow to go, but it’s very vulnerable to wind once it starts to break apart.

The Elbow, Allie Island, Mather Island.

Here’s a closer look at the Barrier Islands, facing south east. This water is in the Elbow, between Allie Island at the left and Mather Island at the right. Each of the narrow gaps in this chain of large islands has significant current.

It’s amazing what one really warm day can do. The waterfront at Norman has been completely transformed since yesterday. Today was nice, too, but it looks as if we’re going to max out at 11°C today, and then we have some interesting weather coming. Wednesday and Thursday will be cooler and rainy, then the weekend will pick up to slightly above normal temperatures.  However, most of next week will be below normal, and flurries are in the forecast. Temperatures bottom out next Wednesday when we’ll barely creep above freezing.  A normal high this time of year is about 7°C, and overnight lows would typically be about -3°C. After that cool spell, it looks like we’ll be heading back to  temperatures close to or slightly better than normal.

Out of that mixed bag, the rain is on our side. Snow would be bad if it persisted as a reflective white layer on the ice, but my guess is it’ll mostly turn to slush right away.

Signs of spring: I saw a water-bomber yesterday. The MNR’s spring training has probably begun, and Kenora offers some of the first big stretches of open water.

Because it’s been such a dry spring, the forest fire hazard is medium to high, and there are actually three active fires in the Northwest Ontario region. None of them are what you’d call headline news, but you can find more info at this MNR website.

April 4, 2021: Shoal Lake to Kenora

Some new aerial photographs from Josh Broten, and also the first drone picture of the year, taken by George Dyker over Clytie Bay, a popular cottage area on Shoal Lake. All were taken Saturday.

Let’s start with Josh’s overview of Shoal.

You can click on these pictures to see them full screen and full size.

Northwest Angle, Shoal Lake.

Looking north from over the Northwest Angle towards Shoal Lake. Lots of water and only pan ice in the Angle. In the distance, the ice looks poor on Shoal.

Monument Bay, Shoal Lake.

Here’s a slightly closer look at Shoal, with the camera pointing north west over Monument Bay, so that Shoal Lakes large Dominique and Stevens Island appear side by side. Mason Lake and part of Reid Lake are a the right side of the frame.

Now George Dyker’s drone shot of Clytie Bay on Shoal. George operates a DJI drone.

Shoal Lake’s Clytie Bay.

This view looks south west, with the open water at Gateway Point in the foreground. That ice road that heads off onto the main body of the lake looks to be in one piece, but it’s riddled with cracks.

Now, back to our tour with Josh’s Cub, picking things up at the south end of the lake, where Josh is based.

Oak Island, Flag Island, Brush Island.

We’re back by the NW Angle, looking at the area by the international border. The open water is mainly by Flag Island, which has a webcam, by the way. You can find a link to it on the Lake of the Woods Links sidebar.*

*When viewed on a desktop or large tablet, Ice Patrol offers a number of features on a sidebar to the right of the main column. These include Recent Comments, a Search Tool, a Flag Counter, the Archive Tool, and an extensive list of links that may be of interest to lake dwellers and visitors.  However, if you’re in the habit of viewing Ice Patrol on a phone, or via the email subscriber list, you may not see the sidebar.

Also a link to my writing blog. Support me by buying my SF novel, AVIANS. It’s about girl power, alternative aviation, and volcanoes! E-book and trade paperbacks available. Averaging 4.5% stars last time I checked.

Oak Point, Big Narrows.

Looking south. The patch of open water in the foreground is right at Oak Point, and there’s open water almost all the way through Big Narrows. At the left, on the far side of Big Narrows Island and Tranquil Channel, there’s some open water through French Portage Narrows.

Chisholm Island, Cliff Island.

Looking north west, with Chisholm Island at the bottom of the frame, and Cliff Island at the left. The Alneau Peninsula is just off the picture to the left, and the Barrier Islands are near the upper right corner. Prominent pressure ridges show the strain on the ice.

Let’s finish Josh’s tour with a shot of the Kenora area.

Poplar Bay, Keewatin Channel, Rat Portage Bay.

Centered on Keewatin Channel, this picture looks north east towards Rat Portage Bay, Safety Bay and Kenora. Poplar Bay is in the lower left corner.

The ice is weakening, slowly but steadily. Warm temperatures all week, with daily highs in the double digits, should help.

In the meantime, a reminder. Ontario went back into a province-wide lockdown on Saturday, April 3rd, and is expected to stay that way for a four week “emergency brake.” Hairdressers are closed, restaurants are take-out only, and stores are restricted to half or quarter occupancy, depending on how essential they are. More details here.



March 18, 2021: Downtown / Devil’s Gap

Andy Zabloski & Tom Hutton landed in Kenora first thing this morning, but before they touched down, they grabbed a few photos in the dawn light. Check out the long shadows.

You can click on these pictures to see them full screen.

Let’s start with downtown Kenora.

Kenora, Safety Bay and the headwaters of the Winnipeg River.

Looking west, with the rising sun behind him, Andy took this shot of Kenora. The photo is centered on the Norman Dam, and Rabbit Lake is in the lower right corner. Although the river ice is starting to yield to the current, Safety Bay, at the left, remains largely frozen, with patches of open water appearing near the Clarion, the LotW District Hospital, and Norman.

I have a lot of pictures similar to this one, so I just made a quick dive into the archives to see how this photo compares to last year. This time last year, there was slightly more open water, but a lot more snow cover. If you want to see for yourself, there’s an Archive Tool on a side-bar. You can pick a month and year from the menu, and see Ice Patrol posts from then. This assumes you’re visiting the website, not looking at an email update. On a mobile device like a phone, there likely wouldn’t be a sidebar, so you’d have to scroll way down.

Devil’s Gap

This is Devil’s Gap, looking south east. Most of what you see here is Treaty Island, but a little of Rogers Island is visible at the top.

Quiet Bay, Shragge’s Island, Keewatin Channel, Channel Island, The Tangle.

There’s not much change at Keewatin Channel yet. I actually threw this picture in because it shows Thompson Island, Holmstrom’s Marsh, and a good chunk of the Manitou around Whiskey Island. All of that stuff is still frozen over. The Barrier Islands are visible farther in the distance.

Signs of spring: the street-sweepers are out.