GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - On this date last year, it was 61 degrees and only one lake in Minnesota had yet to have an "ice out" declared.
This week, accumulating snow has returned to the forecast. It comes just as melting progress in the KARE 11 Backyard was starting to be noticeable.
A pile of snow measured out at 12 feet long and 5 feet high a couple of weeks ago has shrunk to 6 feet long by only 3 feet high.
I'm sticking to my original guess that the pile will be gone on April 20, but feel free to leave your guess at the KARE 11 Facebook page.
Over the past two weeks, the snow pack has depleted to nothing for the southern third of the state. In contrast, locations in the northern half of Minnesota have two feet or more left on the ground.
Besides melting snow, lake ice out is a big sign of spring.
On April 8 of last year, even Lake of the Woods had been declared ice free. In fact, all lakes except Greenwood Lake in extreme Northeast Minnesota were without ice.
That's well before median lake ice out dates which range from late March along the Iowa border to early May to the north.
Folks from the Freshwater Society measure ice outs each year on Lake Minnetonka. In fact they plan the Ice Out Loon In fundraiser around the median date.
"The first year the ice was out, and the second year the ice was out, so we figured we'd do it Thursday, April 11 and we thought for sure the ice would be out, but we had the kind of weather we didn't expect this year," Diane Lynch said.
The event will be held despite the fact that there is still a lot of ice out on Lake Minnetonka.
"Last week, we were out and there was around two feet and it was starting to break up around the shoreline last week. And now we were out today and there's about 5 to 7 feet broken up along the shoreline," Jesse Johnson of Spring Park Dock & Lift said.
Everyone measures lake ice out different, whether it's open channels or fully open bays, but Johnson's guess for Lake Minnetonka is April 21.
DNR Lake Minnetonka Ice Out Stats:
- Average: April 13
- Earliest: March 11, 1878
- 2012: March 21
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