It may be snowing, but the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office officially declared "ice-out" on Lake Minnetonka on May 1.
Ice-out is declared when a boat can travel without obstacles on Lake Minnetonka through the Narrows bridge, around Big Island and back to the Sheriff's Water Patrol Unit in Spring Park.
Typically, ice-out on the lake occurs in mid-April, but after an unrelenting winter, this year's May 1 announcement falls among the latest on record. It's only the third May ice-out since Hennepin County started compiling dates in the late 1880s.
-May 1, 2013
-May 1, 1965
-May 2, 1950
The Freshwater Society founder Dick Gray describes the standard for determining ice-out as "when it is possible to travel by small boat from any one shore to any other shore through any passage on the lake." By their standard, Lake Minnetonka's ice-out officially happened at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 2, 42 days later than last year.
The Freshwater Society's calendar cites last year's ice-out among the earliest on March 21. The earliest on record was a March 11 ice-out in 1878. The latest ice-out on their calendar fell on May 8, 1856.
The last five ice-outs:
-May 2, 2013
-March 21, 2012
-April 14, 2011
-April 2, 2010
-April 13, 2009
PDF: Freshwater Society ice-out calendar: http://freshwater.org/wp-content/uploads/joomla/iceout/2012iceout.pdf