The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the Freshwater Society jointly declared "ice-out" on Lake Minnetonka on Sunday -- 19 days earlier than last year and about 10 days earlier than a typical declaration date.
The median ice-out date for Minnetonka is April 14. Half the recorded ice-outs have occurred earlier, and half later.
Freshwater Society: Year-by-year ice outs
Over the past few weeks, the Sheriff's Office has patrolled the lake to monitor ice thickness. Many areas of the lake were clear of ice before the announcement, but the Sheriff's Office the Freshwater Society continued to spot ice packed around Big Island stretching to Browns Bay. Lake Minnetonka is just over 14,500 acres and has 37 bays.
In 2014, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the Freshwater Society jointly declared ice-out April 24 – the first time both have declared ice-out at the same time.
Ice-out is declared when a boat can travel without obstacles on Lake Minnetonka through the Narrows bridge, around Big Island and back to the Sheriff's Water Patrol Unit in Spring Park, according to the Hennepin County sheriff's office.
The Freshwater Society founder Dick Gray describes the standard for determining ice-out as "when it is possible to travel by small boat from any one shore to any other shore through any passage on the lake." Last year, they declared ice-out a day later than the county.
The last 6 ice-outs, according to the Freshwater Society:
-April 5, 2015
-April 24, 2014
-May 2, 2013
-March 21, 2012
-April 14, 2011
-April 2, 2010