I have to admit, ice out caught me off guard this year. Every year we solicit ice out records when the first signs of spring appear. With help from observant individuals throughout Vermont, the Department of Environmental Conservation maintains ice out records for several lakes and ponds, some dating back decades. These records help us better track and understand the impacts of climate change in Vermont.
According to the calendar (and the thermometer), spring has officially arrived. The trouble is, winter never did. The winter of 2015-2016 was the warmest on record and while we usually spend the first few warm spells melting our way out of winter, the thaw happened particularly fast and early this year.
In comparison, check out the date of last year’s blog post on ice out – April 24th – yes, nearly a month later. All of this got me wondering, exactly how early is this year’s ice out relative to other years? Below are answers to this question and more.
- Number of lakes with ice out records: 25
- Total number of ice out records: 670
- Earliest ice out record: March 9, 2000 – Lake Iroquois (Hinesburg, Richmond, Williston, and St. George)
- Latest ice out record: May 23, 1973 – Echo Lake (Charleston)
- Oldest ice out record: April 14, 1933 – Lake St. Catherine (Poultney)