Lake City, MN (KROC-AM News) - To the surprise of no one, the ice covering Lake Pepin has grown thicker in many areas over the past couple weeks. A team from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers went back out onto the lake Wednesday morning and took measurements to determine both the thickness and quality of the ice as part of the federal agency's annual preparations for the start of the shipping season.

The thickest ice was found about halfway between Lake City and Red Wing. The measurements show it is now 2 feet thick in that area, which is a half foot thicker than the ice that was measured on February 21st. The ice thickness grew by nearly a foot a couple of miles downstream where it was measured at 20 inches. Just south of Lake City, where the ice is traditionally the thickest, it was measured at 23-inches, which is up 2 inches when compared to the previous measurements last month.

Without a significant warm-up in the forecast through at least mid-March, it appears the shipping season will be a bit delayed this year. The average starting date is March 22nd, and the latest due to ice conditions was set last year when the first barges reached St. Paul on April 11th.