Sunday, April 03, 2011

It's a little different from last year. Ice out April 3? I don't think so.

As type this in the office at Oxtongue Lake, I can hear the buzzing of snowmobiles drag racing up and down the lake. Last April 3, you might have heard the putt-putting of a cottager out cruising in their tin boat, or maybe the swish of a paddle. I'm not complaining about the sledders, if I was a snowmobiler I'd probably be doing the same thing. I am a skier, and what did I do yesterday? I went skiing with friends just outside of Huntsville. Some folks came in the store today and reported excellent spring conditions on the neighbouring trails belonging to the Blue Spruce Resort.

Spring is making inevitable progress. Snow is receding fast on the sunny side of the highway. The robin has returned. Alas, for paddlers and anglers, the lakes are still frozen solid.

Algonquin Park has cranked up their ice out reporting for 2011. For some recent pictures of conditions in the park, check out the Friends of Algonquin Park Facebook page (and you don't even have to be a "Facebooker" to see the pictures). The FOAP website has, among other items, an interesting comparison of 2008 satellite imagery with that of 2011, found here. Looking at those images, the big thing that stands out is how "grey" much of the ice looks in southern and central Ontario in the 2011 image. I hate to be a killjoy but don't take that to mean that the ice in Algonquin Park is about ready to go. While grey ice in the satellite image can mean soft mushy ice on the verge of disappearing, it is not always the case.  In that image, with the exception of lakes south of Hwy 7, I believe it means that there is a layer of water on top of the ice, formed by the sun's melting of the surface snow. I see this happen every day outside the window.

Being a dedicated ice-out blogger, I mentally correlated those images with the archived ice-out data for 2008 on the Canoe Lake Ice-Out page. Interestingly, most people (including me) predicted a late ice-out of April 30 but the winning date was April 25. As I recall, and confirmed by reviewing this blog's archive, we were calling for a late ice-out up to the middle of April. Then, the weather shifted, someone turned the heat on and POOF, the ice disappeared very quickly.

So, for you optimists out there, anything can happen. For you realists out there, keep your eye on the weather, use the resources at hand, and plan accordingly.

I'm just sayin'...

Utah the Wonder Dog trying to help dig out our deck in rural Huntsville, April 2, 2011.

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