UPDATE: Ice-out declared for Winnipesaukee

Special to the Union Leader
April 17. 2013 11:10AM
Dave Emerson of Emerson Aviation captured this image while flying over Wolfeboro Bay on the annual Ice Out watch on Tuesday. Chunks of ice still lingered, but the official call of Ice Out could be imminent. (COURTESY)
GILFORD - Ice-out on Lake Winnipesaukee was declared at 6:53 a.m. Wednesday.
Pilot Dave Emerson of Emerson Aviation flew over the big lake this morning. Ice-out is declared when all ports of the M/S Mount Washington are clear of ice, and Emerson has traditionally been the person to make that declaration for many years.
Milder temperatures melted some large chunks of ice that had lingered in Wolfeboro Bay this week.
The winner of the annual Ice Out guessing contest sponsored by Winnipesaukee.com has not yet been declared, however. To correct a reference in an earlier report, the latest ice-out has been declared was on May 12, 1888, the first year of recordkeeping.
Emerson said Tuesday that ice-out typically occurs the third week of April.

Previous story follows:

The Ice Out declaration for Lake Winnipesaukee is expected any time now.

Pilot David Emerson of Emerson Aviation circled the skies over Lake Winnipesaukee on Tuesday afternoon and while The Broads area of the big lake were clear, some chunks of ice were seen clustering in Wolfeboro Bay, at Keniston and Melody islands, with floating ice around Three-Mile Island in Center Harbor.

"Right now, Wolfeboro Bay is the last hold out," said Emerson, who reported that strong winds out of the south were blowing ice towards the bay. Ice was clustering at the larger dock where the M/S Mount Washington docks in Wolfeboro.

On Tuesday, Emerson said he would fly over the lake once more in late afternoon, and at first light on Wednesday. He anticipated that Ice Out would be called within 12 to 24 hours, or on Wednesday.

According to winnipesaukee.com, a plentiful online resource for data, web cams and blogs related to Lake Winnipesaukee, Ice Out occurs when the ice that has covered the Lake since late December or early January melts enough to allow the M/S Mount Washington cruise ship to navigate among Alton Bay, Center Harbor, Weirs Beach, Meredith and Wolfeboro.

"Ice Out is greatly anticipated by residents and visitors since it is the traditional start of the spring season and many Islanders regain water access to their cottages," according to the site. The site also hosts the annual "Ice Out" Guess Contest, where contestants declare the date and time when the lake will be clear.

According to the site, the date has been observed and recorded since 1888.

The setting of the exact date and time is non-scientific and is now determined by an observer in a small plane from Emerson Aviation - usually Dave Emerson - who flies over the lake several times a day. When the pilot makes the Ice Out call it is considered official.

Emerson said Ice Out during the third week of April is "very normal." Last year, Ice Out was declared on March 23, the year prior on April 19. The earliest Ice Out was the first, recorded on May 12, 1888. lmulkern@newstote.com

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