Holidays Are Over, 2018 Has Begun and Lake Mendota is Frozen

Welcome back to our blog! We’ve got big plans in store for 2018, but first wanted to touch base on something that happened way back in 2017 – December 27th, to be exact. If you were in the Madison area and ventured out along the shoreline of our beautiful lakes, you would’ve seen that Lake Mendota “officially” froze over just a couple days after Christmas. (Monona froze a day earlier and little Lake Wingra back on December 10th). Since then, we’ve had relatively little snow, truly Arctic temperatures and the usual flood of ice fishing shanties, cross country skiers, dog walkers and fat bike riders partaking of this unique opportunity for outdoor winter recreation.
This winter’s December 27th freeze came earlier than the last three years, which had all seen early January dates for “ice on.” But it is still a full week later than Lake Mendota’s usual (or, more specifically, median) freeze date. And that means that, in keeping with trends the Wisconsin State Climatology Office has been observing since the 1850’s, our freeze dates are, on average, getting later. We also know that the lakes are thawing earlier, so enjoy our current conditions while they last!
We can always hope for an outlier, but if this year falls anywhere near the average of the last decade, we’ve got just under three months to enjoy the “hard” water.

Top Photo: Katie Wheeler, Flickr