Sunday, December 28, 2008

Earliest icing of western Lake Superior in years

Global warming?

Tell that to folks in Houston, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and southwestern Arizona's desert where snow has fallen for the first time in years ... and tell that to southwestern Colorado where four feet of snow fell this past week, and to all the other places that are experiencing snow, sleet, ice, and cold weather earlier than normal for the winter season.

Now comes news from the River Falls Journal by way of Icecap that western Lake Superior has iced over this early for the first time in 17 years:
Ice has formed on Lake Superior off the Twin Ports and near Bayfield, among other places. It is the first time in years that ice has formed on the lake this early in the winter season.

The western tip of Lake Superior has frozen over in December for the first time in recent memory, and that could mean a long season of ice angling that hasn’t been seen in years.

“We were just talking that it’s been something like 17 years since we had a good, long ice fishing season at this corner of Lake Superior,’’ said Russ Francisco, owner of Marine General sporting goods store in Duluth. “This is the most ice I’ve seen in December in years. … I wouldn’t go out yet, but if it stays cold and we don’t get a big wind, people will be out there fishing soon.’’

While ice remains unsafe — with an emphasis on unsafe — as it continues to move around off Duluth, seeing any ice this early has been rare in recent years. Francisco said the earliest safe ice will come in the small bays near the mouths of local rivers like the Lester and the French.

Francisco said in the rare years recently when Lake Superior has partially frozen, it’s usually in February or early March, after months of cold weather. Anglers and ice skaters had a few weeks of good ice in February 2007, for example, before temperatures rose and the ice blew out.
Check out these photos of the Alps where record snowfall of over six feet has been recorded for the first time this early in the season since 1960 (h/t Icecap).

Winter has just begun.

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