Ice in? Ice out? Climatologist notes winter’s ‘unusual’ cycle

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A reader sent this photo of Lake Waconia taken on March 8 – just one day after the official 2017 ice-out date. (Submitted photo)

A reader sent this photo of Lake Waconia taken on March 8 – just one day after the official 2017 ice-out date. (Submitted photo)

High winds and warmer weather has led to historically early ice-outs for a number of west metro lakes.

But more recent cold temperatures and snowfall have reversed the ice-out call on some shorelines. The situation has left Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials perplexed.

As of March 13, a number of smaller lakes in Minnesota which had previously been called for ice out have been called back. The colder weather and snowfall over the weekend of March 11 largely contributed to the phenomenon, according state DNR climatologist Pete Boulay.

“I’ve never run into a year where lakes have refroze over,” Boulay said. “This winter is shaping up to be very unusual.”

Noted naturalist Jim Gilbert has been studying and recording lake conditions for nearly 50 years.
This refreeze cycle is something he hasn’t seen either.

“Never,” he said. “I’ve been doing this since 1970 and this has never happened. I don’t know what to do with it honestly. The records from this year are going to look crazy.”

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