Madeline Island Ferry Line

Record Setting Cold Winter

Island Gazette, Madeline Island In Lake Superior
From: Vol. 51 No. 2 January 21 to March 11, 2014

2014 Has Been A Record Setting Cold Winter

  1. Dec. Jan. Feb. Total days that went above 32˚ were only 8. The  average is 29˚
  2. This year we had the most days in at least the past 24 years of 10˚ below or more with 35. The next most was in 95/96 with 28. The average minus -10˚ we get in a year is 9.
  3. This year we had the least amount of days in Dec. Jan, and Feb. when temperatures would get above 32˚ in at least the past 24 years with 8. The next closest was 2010/11 with 15.
  4. Islanders began crossing on the Ice Road Jan. 14th. In the past 27 years the next earliest date is Jan. 14th, 1991.
  5. The Ice Road has been open for 60 days. Since 1998 the average has been dropping from 50 days to 44 days. The longest open Ice Road was 85 days in 1990 and ended on March 23rd. The second longest open Ice Road was 67 days in 1997 that lasted until March 26th. The average end of an ice road is March 17th. The latest recorded “Open Ice Road” that I have recorded was April 3rd, 1996. (This was the last day Shelly Laska dared to drive herself across the ice to work at the Town Hall). The Ice Road this year will likely be at least the second longest on record if it goes to March 22nd.
  6. Ice thickness has been reported by Jeff Hood to be at 29 inches. The ice has been reported to be far thicker than that in some other areas. We are generally pleased to get 18” on an average year.
  7. The Ferry Boats shut down on Jan. 3rd. In past 50 years they have only shut down 14 times before this.
  8. The longest shut down was 113 days in 1965 when the Ferry boats the Nichevo and the GarHow made the first trip on April 22nd. The boats would have to not run until April 26th to tie that record. The average first trip for the Ferry Boats is now April 2nd. The latest first trip was in 1996 on April 25th. The ice is very thick, the snow on it is deep and if temperatures stay so far below normal as they have been all winter we might break yet another cold winter record, unless of course, the Duluth Ice Breaker the Alder has something to say about that as it did last year when it broke a trail to Bayfield on April 3rd.
  9. As for the snow. We have 90.8″ so far this year. The average is 78.95″ for an entire year. The most snow we have had was 155.80″ last year (42.90″ in April and another 14.20″ in May, far from normal). The next most snowfall was in 96/97 with 126.20″. What makes this year seem like there is a record amount of snow is that we have had very little of it melt. The blacktopped roads were snow-covered on Dec. 3rd and we have not seen bare blacktop since then. Again, far from normal, but, I guess this is the Island.
  10. Temperatures in Dec:  Average high: 17.8˚, Average low: 4.5˚, Jan: Average high 13.3˚, Average low – 6.1˚, Feb: Average high 17.8˚, Average low – 4.0˚
  11. Coldest Low: -21˚ Feb. 28th, March 1st, March 2nd, Coldest High: -12˚ Jan. 7th
  12. Lake Superior was reported to be 94% frozen over this year.
  13. Melting News! Spring has sprung. The March temperatures hit 34˚ on the 7th and into the 50’s by the 10th. The snow is melting, water is running and the Ice Road is very, very wet and sinking on both sides along the snow banks, though it is still open, but it is not for the faint of heart.

Island Gazette, Madeline Island In Lake Superior
Evan Erickson, Publisher / Waggie Erickson, Editor
Subscription: $20/year
PO Box 400, La Pointe, WI 54850 or [email protected]