Minnesota's Lake Ice-Out Status as of May 1, 2000

Delayed early-winter ice development and a mild winter led to extraordinarily early lake ice-out dates in 2000. White Bear Lake in Ramsey County was ice free on March 21, the earliest ice-out date in its 72 year record. Lake Minnetonka in Hennepin County lost its ice on March 18, the second earliest ice-out date in a 123 year record. March ice-out dates are rare for Lake Minnetonka, occurring only six times prior to 2000. The ice-out date for Lake Osakis of Todd/Douglas counties was March 24, the second earliest ever, and only the third time in 130 years that ice-out occurred in March. The April 2 ice-out date for Mille Lacs and Gull lakes is more than three weeks earlier than their long-term averages, a very rare occurrence.

The definition of lake ice-out varies from lake to lake, and individual to individual. For some, ice-out occurs only when the lake is completely free of ice. For others, ice-out is defined as the moment when navigation is possible from point A to point B. And yet for others, ice-out is when 90 percent of the lake is ice free. Due to the variable definitions of this rather subjective observation, the State Climatology Office attempts to contact the same individuals each year to maintain a consistent record. The table below depicts the information obtained by this informal poll in the year 2000.

Historical averages and extremes have been calculated for lakes in highlighted in green.

Northwest
Name County Status
Bronson Kittson out - Apr 1
Cormorant Becker out - Apr 5
Detroit Becker out - Apr 3
Red (Lower) Beltrami out - Apr 12
North Central
Name County Status
Bemidji Beltrami out - Apr 19
Kabetogama St. Louis out - Apr 18
L. of the Woods LOW out - Apr 8
Leech Cass out - Apr 17
Pokegama Itasca out - Apr 6
Rainy Kooch. out - Apr 22
Winnibigoshish Cass/Itas. out - Apr 6
Northeast
Name County Status
Fall Lake out - Apr 15
Island St. Louis out - Apr 5
Saganaga Cook out
Snowbank Lake out
Sturgeon St. Louis out - Apr 13
Vermillion St. Louis out - Apr 21
West Central
Name County Status
Big Stone Big Stone out - Mar 22
Minnewaska Pope out - Mar 23
Osakis Todd out - Mar 24
Ottertail Ottertail out - Apr 3
Swan Traverse out - Mar 15
Traverse Traverse out - Mar 15
West Battle Ottertail out - Mar 31
Central
Name County Status
Fish Trap Morrison out - Mar 26
Green Kandiyo. out - Mar 24
Gull Cass out - Apr 2
Pulaski Wright out - Mar 21
Rice Stearns out - Mar 20
Sullivan Morrison out - Mar 24
East Central
Name County Status
Big Sandy Aitkin out - Mar 31
Forest Washing. out - Mar 18
Knife Kanabec out - Mar 27
Medicine Hennepin out - Mar 9
Mille Lacs M. Lacs out - Apr 2
Minnetonka Hennepin out - Mar 18
Rush Chisago out - Mar 25
Waconia Hennepin out - Mar 15
White Bear Ramsey out - Mar 21
Southwest
Name County Status
Sarah Murray out - Mar 6
Shetek Murray out - Mar 8
South Central
Name County Status
Albert Lea Freeborn out - Mar 5
Budd Martin out - Mar 6
Clear Waseca out - Mar 7
Sakatah Le Seuer out - Mar 11
Southeast
Name County Status
Pepin Wabasha out - Feb 29

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mcwg@soils.umn.edu
URL: http://climate.umn.edu/doc/ice_out/ice_out_status_00.htm
Last modified: May 1, 2000