Minnesota's Lake Ice-Out Status as of April 25, 2005


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 2005 information obtained from this informal poll. The table is updated on Mondays.

2005 ice-out recap

Prospects for an early ice-out for 2005 didn't seem to be in the cards for Minnesota. Indeed the first few lakes in the far south central portions of the state lost their ice near historical averages. Tiny Iowa Lake in Martin County was first, losing its ice by March 28th. Budd Lake in Martin County followed on March 30, one day later than the historical average. The statewide temperature average for March 2005 was just a little cooler than average.

April came with May-like temperatures. The first 17 days of the month were ten degrees above average statewide. Even in northeast Minnesota, which still held onto a snow pack at the beginning of the month, was seven degrees above average. The balmy conditions accelerated ice-out across the rest of Minnesota. In central portions of the state, lakes like White Bear and Minnetonka were ice-free by April 9th, which was several days ahead of average. Green Lake in Kandiohi County lost its icy cover on April 10th six days ahead of its long term average. In general, lakes were ice-free three days to a week ahead of average in Central Minnesota. Mille Lacs was stubborn to lose its ice and one couldn't pilot a boat from Isle to Garrison until April 20, still four days earlier than average.

The warmth continued during the third week of April and ice thawed on northern lakes more rapidly. As of April 21 virtually all lakes across northeast Minnesota were ice-free. Even lakes that typically keep their ice the latest like Vermillion looked blue to airplane pilots on April 19th. The last two years the lake was still iced until the end of April. Shagawa Lake just north of Ely lost its ice ten days ahead of average. Most lakes in northern Minnesota were ice-free seven to ten days ahead of average.

By Monday, April 25 all the lakes in Minnesota were ice-free. The last lakes to lose their ice were Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods on April 23.

While 2005 will not go into the record books as the earliest ice-out ever for any lakes with long-term records, the rapid warm-up though moved the ice-out quicker than what was expected at the beginning of the month.

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

Northwest
Name County Status
Bronson Kittson out 4-8
Cormorant Becker out 4-17
Detroit Becker out 4-14
Red (Lower) Beltrami out 4-22
Sallie Becker out 4-12
North Central
Name County Status
Bemidji Beltrami out 4-18
Kabetogama St. Louis out 4-20
L. of the Woods LOW out 4-23
Leech Cass out 4-17
Pokegama Itasca out 4-17
Rainy Kooch. out 4-23
Winnibigoshish Cass/Itas. out 4-19
Northeast
Name County Status
Fall Lake out 4-16
Island St. Louis out 4-17
Saganaga Cook out 4-20
Shagawa St. Louis out 4-17
Snowbank Lake out 4-19
Sturgeon St. Louis out 4-16
Vermilion St. Louis out 4-19
Wolf Lake out 4-18
West Central
Name County Status
Artichoke Big Stone out 3-30
Big Stone Big Stone out 4-3
Minnewaska Pope out 4-9
Osakis Todd out 4-9
Ottertail Ottertail out 4-15
Traverse Traverse out 4-6
West Battle Ottertail out 4-15
Central
Name County Status
Fish Trap Morrison out 4-9
Green Kandiyo. out 4-10
Gull Cass out 4-11
East Central
Name County Status
Big Sandy Aitkin out 4-14
Bear Aitkin out 4-9
Calhoun Hennepin out 4-6
Forest Washing. out 4-6
Gervias Ramsey out 4-6
Harriet Hennepin out 4-6
Keller Ramsey out 4-5
Knife Kanabec out 4-10
Medicine Hennepin out 4-6
Mille Lacs M. Lacs out 4-20
Minnetonka Hennepin out 4-9
Rush Chisago out 4-8
Waconia Carver out 4-8
White Bear Ramsey out 4-9
Southwest
Name County Status
Benton Lincoln out 4-1
Sarah Murray out 3-31
Shetek Murray out 4-1
South Central
Name County Status
Albert Lea Freeborn out 3-31
Budd Martin out 3-30
Clear Waseca out 4-4
Hall Martin out 3-30
Loon Waseca out 4-4
Shields Rice out 4-6
Sakatah Le Seuer out 4-5
Swan Nicollet out 3-31
Tetonka Le Sueur out 4-5
Southeast
Name County Status
Cannon Rice out 4-4
Pepin Wabasha out 4-4

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URL: http://climate.umn.edu/doc/ice_out/ice_out_status_05.htm
Last modified: April 25, 2005