April 12, 2017: Not Much Change

We’ve had sunny skies, but nighttime temperatures have been below freezing. That doesn’t stop the currents from eating away at the ice, but it slows things down enough that there hasn’t been a lot of change over the last couple of days.

Today’s satellite photo from the MODIS camera on the Terra satellite shows that Lake of the Woods is still close to 90% ice-covered. The biggest change seems to be between Big Narrows and the North West Angle.

Still, I was in the air today, and sunlight gives the best contrast for aerial photography, so here’s what we got.

Hay Island, Middle Island, Scotty Island.

I’ve tried to show the same areas that I photographed early this week, so that you can see what progress there is. The top photo shows slight enlargement of the open water encroaching on Hay Island and the Hades, and that patch of water at the far end of Scotty Island is new.

Don’t forget to click on these pictures to see a larger image that you can zoom in on to better see what’s going on in the distance. We didn’t have time to fly down for a closer look, but I think there’s a lot more open water down by Big Narrows. That’s near the upper edge of this photograph, above the center.

On to Keewatin Channel.

Town Island, Keewatin Channel, Devil’s Gap.

If you’re in crossing the Keewatin Bridge and heading through Norman, it looks like the whole lake must be open. But no. You could reach some parts of Town Island by boat now, for instance, but most of Town Island’s shores are still locked in ice. Over at Devils’ Gap, Roger’s Island is seeing more water along the shoreline, but only a little. In the middle distance at the right of this picture, you can see that Rat Portage Bay is slowly opening up on the town side of Devil’s Gap, but Gun Club Island is still surrounded by ice.

I’ll finish with a look at some of the little lakes in town.

Laurenson’s Lake, Round Lake, Rabbit Lake.

Laurenson’s Lake is starting to open up. The shoreline of Round Lake is letting go, and the remaining ice looks very weak. Rabbit Lake, which I was sure would be wide open early this week, has some open water at the west end, but ice is still holding on most of the lake.


April 9, 2017: Rabbit Lake

I was out for my morning walk today, and stopped at the Gazebo on Rabbit Lake to look at the ice. Rabbit Lake is completely candled. Candling is when the solid structure of the ice starts to fracture into separate crystals.

Rabbit Lake.

Later, I stopped at a dock and plunged my hand into the water to pull out a fist sized cluster of those crystals. They’re only loosely stuck together, because water has penetrated the fissures between the crystals.

Candled ice: crystal cluster.

It was holding together, so I lifted it up and dropped it a few inches. SPLINK.

Candled ice: individual crystals.

This is the last stage of how lake ice melts, so it means the ice on Rabbit Lake is rotten and weak. Rabbit Lake will let go in the next few days, quite possibly this afternoon, but if not, early next week.

Today would be a great day to take your kids to the park by the rowing club, or Rabbit Lake beach, because the candled ice will now float up and down with every wave. If wind and waves get the crystals rubbing together and breaking apart, you will be able to hear the tinkling sounds.  If conditions are right, it will sound like a billion tiny chimes. Science!

Do not let your kids walk on the ice. It won’t support anything, and that water is cold.