Ice Out Could Happen Today!

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The ice is on the move and the flows are piling up on the rocks as they move on through the Weirs channel.

Those who monitor the annual melting of the ice on Lake Winnipesaukee say official Ice-Out could come as early as today, with Wednesday’s heat and breeze taking their toll on the last remaining sheets.

“It’s going fast,” said Ice-Out guru Dave Emerson after taking two flights over the Big Lake on Wednesday.

Emerson makes a living running Emerson Aviation but each year he takes on the job of monitoring the point where Winnipesaukee is officially freed from its icy grip.

Ice-Out is officially declared when the MS Mount Washington can safely make all ports of call on Lake Winnipesaukee — Weirs Beach, Meredith Bay, Alton Bay, Wolfeboro and Center Harbor.

Since records began being kept in 1851, Ice-Out has happened as early as March 29 and as late as May 12, although nearly three-quarters of the time it is declared during the second half of April.

Many lake-watchers, including Emerson, had been predicting that Ice-Out would take place by the end of the coming weekend but they say near 80-degree temperatures, combined with wind, have helped speed along the process.

One indication that Ice-Out is imminent is when Lily Pond in Gilford is free of ice, which took place on Saturday.

Emerson said Ice-Out usually happens around a week after Lily Pond is clear and much of Winnipesaukee was wide open as of Wednesday despite being mostly covered a week ago.

“We didn’t see much open water until [late Monday] and on Tuesday we started to see Alton Bay come out,” said Emerson.

Emerson said he flew over Winnipesaukee and noticed that places like Meredith Bay, Weirs Beach and The Broads — the open expanse in the middle of the lake — are now open.

He said some larger sheets of ice were floating in the area of Center Harbor and Steamboat and Bear islands earlier in the day but had drifted to other locations — an indicator that they too could be gone soon.

Emerson said Ice-Out could be declared as early as this morning if the conditions stay ideal and weather reports are calling for high temperatures nearing 70 degrees today.

“It would go a lot faster if the wind picked up,” said Emerson.

The annual wait for Ice-Out has a lot of lake enthusiasts counting down the days and entering contests to pick the correct day and time.

An “Ice-Out” thread on the forum of the popular website www.winnipesaukee.com has received more than 24,500 views since it was posted on March 10.

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