Ice Is Out

The ice was declared out at 7:45 PM, April 20th. This means that Islandboy is the winner. Congratulations! The Ice Out Committee had lots of elves helping document the ice going out  (an example report: “Went to the State Park and no ice seen anywhere I looked.” , etc.) . The ice basically was gone by the morning of the 20th but there was a section of Townsend Shore that was hanging in there, even with an east wind. At 2:30, there was still ice blocking a number of the houses.


There was also a lot of ice in the bay just to the west although there would be no boats going out from that swampy area. IMG_6869

The ice in front of Townsend shore is visible in the upper left hand corner. The committee wanted to see if the ice went out before or after nightfall because it made a difference who won the contest. A visit was made to Townsend Shore after dinner. At that time, there was just one iceberg in front of one house, it was about 50 yards long and 10 yards wide and during the visit, this iceberg did two things. First, in about half an hour, it decreased in size by about 20%. Second, it broke free of the shore and headed west being blown by the east wind. This departure of the iceberg allowed the last shore to be “free of ice” so everyone could launch their boats. Well, no one did, I am sure, because it was about 40 degrees, getting dark, water temperature about 39 degrees and also a nice stiff wind.

 It turns out that 39 degrees is a “critical” temperature because this is the temperature of the water at the bottom of the lake in the winter. This occurs because water at 39 degrees is the most dense so it sinks. In the Fall, as water cools, the cool water is more dense so it sinks to the bottom and this keeps happening until all the water in the lake reaches 39 degrees. Further cooling of water causes the water to start expanding because microscopic ice crystals form which take up more space than liquid water. Therefore, as the water cools below 39 degrees, it floats on the more dense water and quickly freezes on the surface. Ice is about 10% less dense than liquid water so the ice then floats on the water.

When the ice is going out, this 39 degrees is critical again. When there is open water and a wind starts blowing, this creates a current on the surface, blowing water along the surface but as the water moves away from shore, water must come up from the bottom to replace it and, as indicated above, this water is 39 degrees. While it is not “warm” 39 degree water can melt a lot of ice quickly so when this 39 degree water shows up on the surface, brought because of strong winds, the ice goes out quickly. It melts rapidly and breaks up because of the waves. Last year, the lake was basically half covered with ice one day and the next day, there was only a little bit by the Heath. As people who live on the lake year round say: “Ice out is always amazing!”



Yellowboat March 31 17:00
Stephen Arnold April 8 16:45
Katie Ouhrabka April 9 15:00
Peter Galanis April 10 15:00
Rockpaperscissors April 10 15:13
Rubka888 April 11 14:30
Ryan Arnold April 11 15:00
Ablodget April 12 17:30
DWR13 April 13 15:30
Heading4thelake April 14 15:00
City Kid April 15 12:00
Lakelady April 15 15:00
skiff April 16 12:00
Lisa Arnold April 16 14:45
Islander April 16 15:00
Rich April 17 11:30
Ethan Arnold April 17 12:15
Annie Arnold April 18 12:30
Lisa Donovan April 18 17:00
HolyHolden April 19 14:10
3pmdgsr April 19 15:45
Crownrock April 20 12:00
Debbie Bayne April 20 15:00
islandboy April 20 16:00
Triggsflier April 21 11:45
SMC12 April 21 15:00
Jimwy April 22 12:00
Gary April 22 13:30
Bob Spear April 22 14:30
Becky April 22 15:00
Bill Durfee April 23 11:00
Nowindshield April 23 14:00
Amy Sutton April 24 14:00
66pop April 24 17:00
Fernald1 April 25 12:00
Joe Erwin April 26 12:00
ajpurcelliii April 27 13:30
Eric Ouhrabka May 1 14:00
Hunt May 2 9:00

Previous Ice Out Dates:

2005  Apr.  17     5:30 PM

2006 Apr. 1          12:00 PM
2007   Apr. 23    6:00 AM
2008   Apr. 23    8:00 AM
2009   Apr. 12    6:00 AM
2010  Mar. 23     3:00 PM
2011 Apr. 20       2:30 PM
2012   March 22 12:00 PM

2013 Apr. 14   3:15 PM

2014 Apr. 19    3:00 PM

2015 Apr. 20  7:45 PM