It's been 138 years since Lake Minnetonka was this clear of ice, this early in the season.
But ice out was officially declared in the western Twin Cities metro lake early Thursday – meaning you can take your boat out on Lake Minnetonka now and get through all of the channels and bays without getting stopped by ice.
The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, working with the Freshwater Society, made the call shortly after midnight Thursday, according to a news release.
They say the recent warm weather, combined with rain and wind, caused the ice to break-up faster than usual. This year's ice-out declaration is the second-earliest on record.
The median ice-out date is April 14, and the earliest came March 11, 1878.
The Lake Minnetonka news comes after a spate of thin ice warnings and ice-out declarations around the state over the past week.
Ice out and thin ice
Some lakes in the southern region have already lost most or all of their ice, according to the state Department of Natural Resources website. The brown markers in the map at right show lakes that already have recorded ice-out dates. (Click here to see the specifics.)
The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office says even though Lake Minnetonka is pretty open, you still need ot be careful on the lake.
- Use caution if you're navigating around, because directional buoys aren't out there yet.
- Wear a lifejacket while boating – the water is still very cold.
- If you are going to go out on the lake, let someone know where and when you'll return.