Editorial: How long will the lake ice last?

Published 9:35 am Friday, March 29, 2013


Let’s talk about the weather today. In fact, let’s speculate about the lake ice.

The ice was out on Fountain Lake last year on March 17. The year before, it was April 8. In 2010, it was March 31. In 2009, April 3; 2008, April 16.

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The weather is expected to be warm this week, with highs in the 50s, which no doubt will get rid of a good share of the snow that covers the ground in the Albert Lea area.

That warm air will melt the snow on the ice, too, and it might even create a few open pockets of water, but the ice is going to take some time to melt this spring. We’re guessing it will be about like 2008, around April 16.

But what we really want to know this: What is the record for the latest ice-out in the history of Fountain Lake? After all, the body of water has the third-oldest ice-out records in Minnesota. They go back to 1912. Presently, Bill Malepsy is the man who checks when the ice is out on the lake.

The latest the ice ever was out was on April 30, in 1953. Never has the ice lasted into May.

Before 2008, the last time the lake ice was out as late as April 16 was 1984, when it finally melted on that date. It seems a large majority of ice-out dates fall during a two-week span: the last week of March and the first week of April.

This year, the lake ice has a full sheet across all of Fountain Lake and its bays. That’s a lot of ice to melt. As the weather warms and spring finally starts to feel like spring, it will be interesting to see just how long the ice on Fountain Lake will last.