It’s official: Tonka ice out today-April 14th

It’s officially boating season on Lake Minnetonka.

Okay, maybe I’m pushing it with icy water and the cold blustery weather forecast, but the official ice out on Lake Minnetonka was declared early this morning.

Here’s the news release from the folks at The Freshwater Society in Navarre.

2011 Lake Minnetonka ice-out declared

“The 2011 ice-out on Lake Minnetonka was declared at 5:14 am on April 14 by the Freshwater Society.

The ice-out came 12 days later than last year, when the lake became ice-free on April 2.

This year, the Freshwater Society this year is celebrating two sure signs of spring — the ice-out and the stop-over of migrating loons on Lake Minnetonka — with a party and fund-raiser on Thursday, April 21. Check out information on the party and register to attend.

Click here to view a calendar of ice-out on Lake Minnetonka, as compiled by the Freshwater Society, from 1855-2010. Or check out another version of the calendar showing the number of times ice-out has occurred on specific dates.

Since 1968, the Freshwater Society has kept close records of the day the ice yields to warmer temperatures on Lake Minnetonka. Freshwater founder Dick Gray described the standard for determining ice-out in a 2003 column: The ice is considered to be “out” when it is possible to travel from any one shore to any other shore through any passage on the lake, he said.

In addition to declaring the ice-out every year since 1968, Gray has compiled a list of all recorded ice-out dates on Lake Minnetonka, dating back to 1855. The earliest recorded ice-out, measured by noted naturalist Dr. Thomas Roberts, was March 11, 1878, and the latest recorded date was May 8, 1856.

Pete Boulay of the State Climatology Office recently found two long-missing ice-out dates — for 1863 and 1873 — in Smithsonian Weather Observer records. Ice-out dates on Lake Minnetonka are still missing for more than 20 years in the 1860s, ’70s and ’80s. Anyone with information regarding ice-out dates for Lake Minnetonka, or any other body of water in Minnesota, for that period, should send the data to the Freshwater Society, c/o Richard G. Gray, Sr., 2500 Shadywood Road, Excelsior, MN 55331.”

Freshwater Ice Out/Loon in Event April 21st:

I’m honored to have been asked to serve as the emcee for this year’s Freshwater Ice Out/Loon IN event next Thursday April 21st at the Baywiew Event Center on Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior.

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The event is open to the public and you can get details here.

This should be a great evening. I hope you can come out and join us as we celebrate the start of a new summer season on Minnesota’s lakes.


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