MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office declared an official "Ice-Out" on Lake Minnetonka at 12:15 a.m. on Thursday, the earliest on record since 1878.
The declaration is made when a boat can be piloted through every one of the lake's channels and bays without obstruction by ice – Lake Minnetonka has 37 bays and is more than 14,500 acres in size.
This year's March 17 ice-out is the second earliest on record, the sheriff's office said. The median date is April 14, while the earliest ice-out ever recorded was on March 11, 1878.
Officials are still urging people to take precautions when they're on the water or near water at this time of year.
Safety reminders from the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office include:
- Use caution when boating on Lake Minnetonka, there are many navigational buoys that are not in place yet.
- It’s especially important to wear a life jacket when boating. At this time, water temperatures on all bodies of water are cold, if you were to fall into water, hypothermia happens quickly in these conditions.
- When boating or spending time near water, let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
- Parents and caregivers are urged to supervise children when they are near the water.