Entering second week of April, there's no sign of ice out on Minnesota lakes

This time last year, most lakes in southern Minnesota had declared ice-outs.
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We're entering the second week of April and there's little sign that boat season will start anytime soon.

Check out the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources page for lake ice outs and you'll see the problem – ice outs have been declared on precisely NONE of them.

The brief flirtation with warmth in March has been followed by a sub-freezing hammering that has actually led to the re-freezing of previously thawing lakes.

Flashback to a year ago and the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis recorded some of the earliest ice outs on record after an unseasonably warm winter.

Bde Maka Ska, for example, recorded its earliest ice-out when it was declared ice-free on Mar. 8.


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We'll start seeing a warm-up from the middle of next week, when temperatures start climbing up into the 40s and potentially even hitting 50.

But as MPR notes, it can take as much as a month for lake ice to completely melt, putting many lakes on course for a record late ice-out.

This could include Lake Minnetonka, which the Freshwater Society notes had its latest ever ice-out on May 5 in 1857.

The Minnesota DNR is warning people to be careful on lakes because ice that has already been through the freeze-thaw cycle is only half as strong as new ice – meaning minimum ice thickness recommendations should be doubled.

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Northern lakes shatter records for earliest ice out

Many northern Minnesota lakes that are usually clogged with ice until May started April ice-free in this crazy weather year. Gunflint Lake broke its record for earliest ice-out by a whopping 17 days. Crane, Winnibigoshish, and Upper Red Lake are among the others that broke records.