AUBURN — Get your boats ready.
Ice-out has officially been declared for Lake Auburn, making it an average year for the spring thaw.
Mary Jane Dillingham, water quality manager for the Auburn Water District, said ice-out was declared Wednesday, with the public boat ramp off Route 4 set to be installed Wednesday afternoon.
Ice-out means that the lake is safe for boaters, not necessarily that ice is completely gone. Some patches of ice may still remain on the water, but should be settled in coves along the shore.
Last year set a record for Lake Auburn, with ice-out called on March 18, the earliest reported since record-keeping began in 1836. In 2015, ice-out was reported on April 23.
Following the unseasonably warm Easter Sunday, a few people were fishing and others were parked simply enjoying the view on Monday afternoon. A truck towing a boat pulled into the boat launch parking lot, then quickly turned around. Dillingham said early in the week that there was still too much ice to officially call ice-out.
According to Dillingham’s records, Lake Auburn’s ice usually disappears in April, with ice-out occurring in that month 141 times in the past 180 years. The latest the ice has melted was May 14 in 1874.
According to the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission, the lake officially iced over this year on Jan. 7.
Each year, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry tracks ice-out dates for all of Maine’s lakes. The majority of the ice-out reports began the first and second weeks in April this year.
According to the department, although the winter of 2016-17 brought a lot of snow to most of Maine, lake ice conditions were considered to be normal or below normal in thickness.
“A heavy blanket of snow has covered most of our lakes since early December insulating the ice and has generally reduced the ice quality and thickness throughout Maine,” the department’s description said.
It said while many areas may typically see more than 4 feet of ice late in the season, many areas only reached 24 to 30 inches, with much of that considered “soft” ice.
“A late-season cold snap may change conditions but if the current weather pattern continues, lakes covered with ice should go out when they normally do,” it states.
The gates to the public boat launch open daily at 4 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.
An aerial view of Lake Auburn on Tuesday afternoon reveals the lack of ice covering the area by by the causeway. Wednesday’s wind and rough water pushed the remaining ice from the middle to the shoreline, enough for officials to call ice-out.
A few remaining pieces of ice on Lake Auburn were pushed toward the shore by Wednesday’s winds, clearing the majority of ice from the lake where officials declared ice-out.
Ice out at Lake Auburn:
|2016||March 18 (record)|