ICE OUT: Late spring may set new records - KMSP-TV

ICE OUT: Late spring may set new records

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Breaking ice on Lake Minnetonka | Photo by Bill Keller Breaking ice on Lake Minnetonka | Photo by Bill Keller

Long before the warm-up, Minnesotans were dreaming about summer life in the land of 10,000 lakes, but Mother Nature seems keen to keep boaters guessing when those lakes will be ready.

"Boat sales per se have been good through the last month. Getting people to take delivery of their boat is a different story," said Matt Mueller, at Minnesota Inboard.

The average ice-out date for Lake Minnetonka is April 15, but open water arrived on March 21 last year. Boaters and businesses are still waiting to see when the ice will disappear this spring.

"Well, I looked at the lake coming down to pick up the boat and it still looks like a 7-Eleven slushie," said Jay Cerny. "It's getting close -- maybe by this weekend."

The ice is far from thawed in the middle of Lake Minnetonka -- and far from thin. So, the crew from Tonka Bay Marina decided to lend a helping hand to hurry up the process by launching ice breakers.

"I've been here 45 years. I've never seen it this late," Gabriel Jabbour told FOX 9 News.

According to the Fresh Water Society, the latest ice-out on record at Lake Minnetonka was set on May 8, 1856. With ice on the lake ranging from 6 to 18 inches thick as of Monday, a new record could be on the way.

Many business-owners say they are behind schedule on what they had planned, and they expect a mad dash to get boats and docks in the water.

"Thirty years I've been doing this and we've never had it this late. We've always been running by April 20th," Dave Lawrance, of Paradise Charter Cruises. "This year, it's a lot of curve balls."

Lawrance's 70-foot Paradise Destiny 2 is still sitting in dry dock, and he's had to reschedule a couple of cruises to another boat on the Mississippi. By this time last year, he'd already run a dozen cruises on the lake -- and he hopes summer will show up soon now that spring has sprung.

DNR: Median Lake Ice Out Dates:


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