Thursday, March 2, 2017

Warm Winter Causing Ice And Lifestyle Changes On And Near Lakes

Thin ice on Lake Superior, like many other northern lakes
in the United States, has created dangers this warm winter
This warm winter in the United States is causing yet another problem for people who are used to winter:

A lack of lake ice. 

The dearth of ice on lakes as big as Lake Superior and as small as New England ponds has been causing plenty of difficulty - and sometimes tragedy.

Here in New England, there have been several deaths due to thin ice on lakes.

Earlier this month, three people died on a single day on New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee when snowmobiles plunged through thin lake ice, said the Manchester Union Leader. 

One of those who died was a 62 year old man who was celebrating his birthday by participating in an ice fishing derby on the lake.

Also in February, two men died when their snowmobiles sank through thin ice on Racquette Pond in New York's Adirondacks.

Here in Vermont, two men died earlier in February when their snowmobiles went through thin ice on Lake Champlain near Shoreham.

Ice was thin on lakes all winter because it's been mild from the start. Earlier this month, snow covered the thin ice, possibly leaving the impression the lakes were safer than they were.

The winter warmth intensified to record levels in the Northeast and Great Lakes region in recent days, so presumably people are now more reluctant to go out on the ice now.

An iconic event, the Lake Bomoseen portion of the Great Benson Ice Fishing Derby in southwestern Vermont was canceled this past weekend for only the second time in the derby's 45-year history because of unsafe ice.

On Lake Superior, warm winters like this one are making it harder for some residents who live on the shores or on islands there.

NPR reports that people usually like to drive on the ice between Bayfield, Wisconsin and Madeline Island, where about 250 residents live year round.

It gives them a bit of freedom, being able to drive to the mainland whenever they like. But for the second winter in a row, the Lake Superior ice is too thin to drive on. People have to take the regularly scheduled ferry, which is a pain.

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