Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Real Winter

Chequamegon Bay is frozen and has enough ice for ice fishing houses, even though Fish Creek at the head of the bay is open and flowing nicely into the bay. For the first time in a number of years we have a decent amount of snow on the ground on New Years Day. Spirit Mountain Ski Area in Duluth, MN had every single downhill run, 22km of nordic trails, and 3.5km of snowshoe trails all open at the end of December for the first time in years. There are still lake freighters coming into the harbor but the ice is getting thicker and harder to break up. The last salt water ship, the Isadora, a Polish vessel, left Duluth for Barcelona loaded with wheat on the 15th of December.

In addition to being fantastic for us winter afficianados, this is very good news for Lake Superior. September and October were fairly wet months along the south shore, as those of us who spend most of those months sitting up in trees can attest. This means the ground was pretty well saturated when it froze and the snow fell. In the spring, instead of soaking into the ground most of the snow melt should run off into the lake. This will help get the lake up from those record lows we saw in August last summer. If the weather stays cold and we get good ice cover over a large portion of the lake, water loss from evaporation will be slowed also. We shall see if the snow and cold continue over the winter but at this point things are definitely looking good.

Photo from Duluth Shipping News


Silbs said...

Interesting. Lake Michigan is headed down again. I may post an article on this.

DaveO said...

Its good to shine a light on that kind of stuff. They are still trying to figure out if the massive dredging in the '60's near Lake St Clair is causing water to leave the upper Great Lakes more quickly or not. Some have even proposed a dam. You would think this would be more of a common sense thing that a five year study thing but what do I know?

Ranger Bob said...

Parts of Chequamegon Bay are frozen, for sure, but the big fella and I just had a lovely walk along Sioux Beach, where it's wide open all the way across to Long Island. My companion would have gladly jumped right in had I thrown a stick, but there were none to be found with all the drifting snow.