Lake Minnetonka, White Bear Lake ice out 2 weeks ahead of average

They're the latest bellwether lakes to declare ice out

Excelsior Bay on Lake Minnetonka Tuesday
Lake Minnetonka's Excelsior Bay was ice-free Tuesday.
Maynards Restaurant webcam

The ice is out on Lake Minnetonka and White Bear Lake Tuesday.

The Hennepin County Sheriff and Freshwater Society declared Lake Minnetonka ice out, meaning there’s no ice left on the lake, at 1:13 p.m. Tuesday. That’s more than two weeks ahead of the median date of April 14.

Lake Minnetonka ice-out on March 30, 2021
Lake Minnetonka ice-out on Tuesday. Pictured from left is Tom Skramstad, Wade Campbell and Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson.
Hennepin County Sheriff Water Patrol

White Bear Lake free of ice as of Monday

Twin Cities bellwether White Bear Lake in the northeast Twin Cities is also ice-free. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources lake ice out tracker reported Monday as White Bear Lake’s ice out date.

White Bear Lake ice-out
White Bear Lake ice out on March 29.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

That’s a full two weeks ahead of the long-term average of April 13. Ice out records for White Bear Lake date back to 1928.

Recipe for an early ice-out year in Minnesota

We’re seeing the perfect combination of weather ingredients for early ice out in Minnesota this year.

  • 1 heaping tablespoon warm March

  • Splash of rare March rainfall

  • Mix in strong sunshine to penetrate ice and warm water from below

  • Stir with 3 cups of wind

  • March has been windy. So far 16 days this month have produced wind gusts over 20 mph at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.

  • March temperatures are running 8.6 degrees warmer than average in the Twin Cities.

  • Overall temperatures across Minnesota are about 10 degrees warmer than average this month. It makes for a sea of warm colors on the March temperature departure map.

    March temperature departure from average
    A map showing March's temperature departure from average.
    Midwest Regional Climate Center

Ice out moves north

Our warm, rainy, windy March is starting to dissolve ice further north on some lakes in central Minnesota, too. Many lakes in Otter Tail County near Fergus Falls are now ice-free.

Blanche Lake just south of larger Otter Tail Lake shows ice-out Tuesday, too. That’s also more than two weeks ahead of the average date of April 15.

Blanch Lake ice out
Blanch Lake ice out on March 30.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Forecast: More ice out this week

The combination of high winds and warmer temperature by this weekend will take out more lake ice this week. Highs return to the 70s this weekend across southern and western Minnesota.

Forecast high temperatures Sunday
High temperatures forecast for Sunday.

Expect some bigger lakes to ice out in the coming weeks.