Has Spring Sprung in Minnesota? Ice is Out on Lake Minnetonka
The calendar has said it's been spring for a little over two weeks already, but when ice out happens on Lake Minnetonka, spring things get serious in Minnesota.
And, ice out was officially declared Thursday at 9:48 a.m. on that big lake up in Minneapolis, when a crew from the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office was able to "safely pilot a patrol boat through all of the 14,500-acre lake’s channels and bays without obstruction," this Fox 9 story noted.
'Ice out' is pretty much the official start to the boating season here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, so having it declared on April 2nd is a pretty good sign. It's around two weeks earlier than usual, which is also a good sign that Old Man Winter might have just packed up his snowstorms left the state. The average ice out declaration is April 14, with the earliest recorded on March 17, 2016. The latest was a tie between May 5, 1857 and just two years ago, in 2018, Fox 9 noted.
Back when I worked in Wisconsin, I lived near Lake Wissota, which is located just east of Chippewa Falls. I'd drive around the big lake everyday on my way into the radio stations in Eau Claire, and I was always curious to see when the ice-out would happen. I apparently wasn't organized enough to note when it did occur, because I don't have any official notes, but I was still fond of noticing when the ice was out-- because that was a sure sign warmer weather wasn't too far off.
Of course, just because ice-out was declared on Lake Minnetonka doesn't mean the ice is out on every Minnesota Lake. Certainly, lakes farther north are no doubt still ice-covered. The Minnesota DNR has a full index of ice-out dates on lakes throughout the state HERE. But Lake Minnetonka's ice out is just another sign, along with the that incredible 60-degree weather we had Thursday, that maybe-- just maybe-- we've made it through another Minnesota winter. And, thankfully, this one wasn't too long or snowy!