Minnesota's Lake Ice-Out Status as of May 9, 2002


In sharp contrast with a winter-long trend of unusually warm weather, March temperatures finished significantly below normal. Temperatures across the state were four to nine degrees lower than historical averages. In a unique juxtaposition, the March mean temperature was colder than any of the preceding winter months in many communities. The first week of April continued the trend from March with below normal temperatures over Minnesota. By the second week of April temperatures had warmed up to above normal and ice was melting rapidly off lakes in central Minnesota. The weather by the end of the third week of April turned colder, but windy so the ice out line continued to moved north. The first week of May was cool, but the ice had left nearly all the lakes in Minnesota by May 9th.

The definition of lake ice-out varies from lake to lake, and individual to individual. For some, ice-out occurs only when the lake is completely free of ice. For others, ice-out is defined as the moment when navigation is possible from point A to point B. And yet for others, ice-out is when 90 percent of the lake is ice free. Due to the variable definitions of this rather subjective observation, the State Climatology Office attempts to contact the same individuals each year to maintain a consistent record. The table below will depict the information obtained by this informal poll in the year 2002. The table is updated on Mondays.

Historical averages and extremes have been calculated for lakes in highlighted in green.

Northwest
Name County Status
Bronson Kittson out - 4/18
Cormorant Becker out - 4/16
Detroit Becker out - 4/16
Red (Lower) Beltrami out - 4/24
North Central
Name County Status
Bemidji Beltrami out - 4/29
Kabetogama St. Louis out - 4/30
L. of the Woods LOW out - 5/3
Leech Cass out - 4/24
Pokegama Itasca out - 4/24
Rainy Kooch. out - 5/4
Winnibigoshish Cass/Itas. out - 4/26
Northeast
Name County Status
Fall Lake out - 4/22
Island St. Louis out - 4/24
Saganaga Cook out - 5/9
Snowbank Lake out - 5/9
Sturgeon St. Louis out - 4/22
Vermilion St. Louis out - 4/30
West Central
Name County Status
Big Stone Big Stone out - 4/14
Minnewaska Pope out - 4/16
Osakis Todd out - 4/15
Ottertail Ottertail out - 4/16
Traverse Traverse out - 4/10
West Battle Ottertail out - 4/17
Central
Name County Status
Fish Trap Morrison out - 4/16
Green Kandiyo. out - 4/16
Gull Cass out - 4/19
East Central
Name County Status
Big Sandy Aitkin out - 4/19
Calhoun Hennepin out - 4/14
Forest Washing. out - 4/15
Gervias Ramsey out - 4/15
Harriet Hennepin out - 4/14
Keller Ramsey out - 4/14
Knife Kanabec out - 4/16
Medicine Hennepin out - 4/14
Mille Lacs M. Lacs out - 4/23
Minnetonka Hennepin out - 4/16
Rush Chisago out - 4/16
Waconia Carver out - 4/15
White Bear Ramsey out - 4/15
Southwest
Name County Status
Sarah Murray out - 4/12
Shetek Murray out - 4/12
South Central
Name County Status
Albert Lea Freeborn out - 3/28
Budd Martin out - 4/1
Clear Waseca out - 4/1
Fountain Freeborn out - 4/9
Loon Waseca out - 4/4
Sakatah Le Seuer out - 4/1
Shields Rice out - 4/5
Swan Nicollet out - 4/6
Southeast
Name County Status
Pepin Wabasha out - 3/25

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mcwg@soils.umn.edu
URL: http://climate.umn.edu/doc/ice_out/ice_out_status_02.htm
Last modified: May 9, 2002