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Satellites still show lots of open water on Minnesota lakes

Later than usual ice-in for many lakes this year

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It’s the time of year when many Minnesotans start watching their favorite lake for ice-in. 

Bigger lakes up north like Red, Winnibigoshish, and Leech are mostly ice-covered. NASA’s MODIS 1,000-meter resolution visible satellite image shows most of the bigger lakes in central and southern Minnesota are still ice-free. 

You can see the black open water clearly surrounded by white snow cover.

NASA MODIS 1,000-meter visible satellite
NASA MODIS 1,000-meter visible satellite
NASA, via University of Wisconsin-Madison

With the colder weather this week, ice is rapidly growing on smaller lakes and ponds across Minnesota. I noticed Lake Bavaria in Chaska had a thin but milky cover of ice Tuesday morning. 

Temperatures over the next week will be mild during the afternoon hours, but well below freezing overnight. So, we’ll be making more ice in the next week, but thickness and stability will be questionable.

Temperature forecast for Twin Cities
Temperature forecast for Twin Cities
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, via Weather Bell

Ice that has formed is still not safe across most of Minnesota. Here’s a good guide to remember as you think about activities on our Minnesota lakes this winter.

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Ice safety guidelines
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Be careful out there!