Lake Winnipesaukee Ice-Out

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Ice-covered Lake Winnipesaukee, February 2010, looking north towards the Sandwich Range

Lake Winnipesaukee Ice-Out occurs when all the ice on Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in New Hampshire, has broken up after winter. Over the years this has been decided upon by a variety of means; as of 2010, Dave Emerson makes the call. Emerson flies two to three times a day over Lake Winnipesaukee to check on the ice. Ice-Out is declared when the MS Mount Washington can make it to every one of its ports: Center Harbor, Wolfeboro, Alton, Weirs Beach and Meredith.[1] It is also considered the unofficial start to the boating season[1] as well as the end of winter[2] in New Hampshire. The earliest Ice-Out recorded was in 2012 on March 23, narrowly beating out the previous record of March 24 from two years before, and the latest it occurred was in 1888 on May 12.[3]

Because the Ice-Out designation is based on the judgment of one person, it is unscientific. The call does not mean that the lake is entirely devoid of ice, nor does it mean that the MS Mount Washington actually does go to each of its ports. It simply means that it is believed that the ship could.[2]

History[edit]

Ice-Out records have been kept since 1887 as a way to keep track of when both commercial and passenger transportation lanes became usable in the lake. In 1974, Dr. William K. Widgert compiled data from known records to create a list of past dates.[3]

Originally the Ice-Out designation was decided by people on shore. Later, for roughly 50 years, the call was made by Bob Aldrich, then, starting in the early 1980s, it was called by Alan Emerson. Since his death in 2002 it has been exclusively called by his son Dave.[2]

Ice-Out has occurred earlier on average in the last two decades of the 20th century and the first of the 21st century than in preceding decades. Culminating with extremely early dates in recent years (2010 - March 24 and 2012 - March 23), as well as maple syrup season moving earlier over the same time span have led some to the speculation that global warming is involved.[2]

Contests[edit]

There are two contests where the public can bet on when Ice-Out will occur on the lake. One is run by Public Service of New Hampshire and the other by Winnipesaukee.com.[4]

Ice-Out dates[edit]

A chart detailing the dates of all past Ice-Outs. This chart also includes a trend line so the average date is more apparent.
A chart detailing the cumulative number of all past Ice-Outs on each date.
Year Ice-Out Date
1887 05-07May 7
1888 05-12May 12
1889 04-14April 14
1890 04-24April 24
1891 04-23April 23
1892 04-11April 11
1893 05-10May 10
1894 04-20April 20
1895 04-26April 26
1896 04-23April 23
1897 04-23April 23
1898 04-14April 14
1899 05-02May 2
1900 04-26April 26
1901 04-20April 20
1902 04-04April 4
1903 04-02April 2
1904 04-29April 29
1905 04-24April 24
1906 04-26April 26
1907 04-29April 29
1908 04-21April 21
1909 04-19April 19
1910 04-06April 6
1911 05-02May 2
1912 04-23April 23
1913 04-17April 17
1914 04-15April 15
1915 04-24April 24
1916 04-16April 16
1917 04-28April 28
1918 04-24April 24
1919 04-14April 14
1920 04-24April 24
1921 03-28March 28
1922 04-17April 17
1923 04-24April 24
1924 04-18April 18
1925 04-10April 10
1926 05-02May 2
1927 04-13April 13
1928 04-19April 19
1929 04-18April 18
1930 04-07April 7
1931 04-11April 11
1932 04-20April 20
1933 04-25April 25
1934 04-21April 21
1935 04-21April 21
1936 04-08April 8
1937 04-25April 25
1938 04-17April 17
1939 05-04May 4
1940 05-04May 4
1941 04-16April 16
1942 04-18April 18
1943 04-30April 30
1944 05-03May 3
1945 04-01April 1
1946 03-30March 30
1947 04-24April 24
1948 04-10April 10
1949 04-06April 8
1950 04-20April 20
1951 04-14April 14
1952 04-20April 20
1953 04-03April 3
1954 04-16April 16
1955 04-19April 19
1956 05-03May 3
1957 04-03April 3
1958 04-13April 13
1959 04-26April 26
1960 04-19April 19
1961 04-27April 27
1962 04-24April 24
1963 04-20April 20
1964 04-28April 28
1965 04-22April 22
1966 04-20April 20
1967 04-20April 20
1968 04-15April 15
1969 04-25April 25
1970 04-28April 28
1971 05-06May 6
1972 05-02May 2
1973 04-16April 16
1974 04-17April 17
1975 04-25April 25
1976 04-17April 17
1977 04-21April 21
1978 04-27April 27
1979 04-25April 25
1980 04-16April 17
1981 04-05April 5
1982 04-29April 29
1983 04-10April 10
1984 04-20April 20
1985 04-14April 14
1986 04-16April 16
1987 04-12April 12
1988 04-16April 16
1989 04-25April 25
1990 04-22April 22
1991 04-08April 8
1992 04-21April 21
1993 04-22April 22
1994 04-23April 23
1995 04-15April 15
1996 04-17April 17
1997 04-24April 24
1998 04-07April 7
1999 04-08April 8
2000 04-10April 10
2001 05-02May 2
2002 04-05April 5
2003 04-25April 25
2004 04-20April 20
2005 04-20April 20
2006 04-03April 3
2007 04-23April 23
2008 04-23April 23
2009 04-12April 12
2010 03-24March 24
2011 04-19April 19
2012 03-23March 23
2013 04-17April 17
2014 04-17April 23

[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Amsden, Roger. Lake Winnipesaukee ice-out is earliest on record. Union Leader. March 24, 2010. Accessed April 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d Brooks, David. Is this hot trend? Lake ice-out gets earlier. Nashua Telegraph. March 31, 2010. Accessed April 9, 2010
  3. ^ a b c Beach, Mildred. Ice Out and What It Means. The Weirs Times. April 8, 2010. Accessed April 9, 2010.
  4. ^ Koziol, John. Ice Out contests are winners with public. Laconia Citizen. April 15, 2009. Accessed April 9, 2010.

External links[edit]