Have you ever thought about where and when the last remnants of wintry ice linger on Crystal Lake? CLC Board Member and weather aficionado Dr. Srdjan Nedeljkovic has been faithfully recording “Ice-In” and “Ice-Out” dates for Crystal Lake since the winter of 1992-93. Furthermore, by looking at Ice Out records that have been published for nearby lakes, he has put together a chart of estimated Ice Out dates for Crystal Lake dating back to 1886! The “ice-in” date is the date on which ice is first observed on Crystal Lake, whereas the “ice-out” date is the date on which the ice completely disappears from its surface. This year, Nedeljkovic reports that the “ice-in” date was December 16, which is 13 days earlier than the 12-year average (December 290 and is the 4th earliest since 2000. The “ice-out” date was March 21, which is five days later than the 12-year average date (March 16) and 4th latest since 2000. Altogether, the lake was frozen for 96 days, which is the 3rd longest duration of ice on the lake in the past 12 years. On this page you can see a chart (below) and table (right) of "ice-in" and "ice out" dates for Crystal Lake since the winter ending in March 2000, along with the duration of ice cover. The full text of Nedeljkovic's report and can be found here: Ice Out at Crystal Lake By Srdjan S. Nedeljkovic (March, 2011)
In addition to recording dates, Nedeljkovic has also recorded the pattern of ice as it receded from the lake. Below is a drawing of how ice-out progressed on Crystal Lake this year. Ice-out took place over about 5 days.
So, what does this mean for Crystal Lake? There is great variability from year to year regarding Ice-In and Ice-Out dates, but records indicate that generally Ice-Out of Crystal Lake may be occurring later. The information that Nedeljkovic has recorded are consistent with a general cooling of temperatures that has been observed during the winter months in the U.S. during the past decade, as seen in the graph below (note: climatological winter is considered the months of Dec-Jan-Feb).