Ice-on date declared for Lake Mendota

Panoramic Photo of Lake Mendota on 13 January 2020

Ice-on date approaches latest freeze record

Warm December and early January temperatures caused a delay in Lake Mendota’s ice-on date. However, the recent cold air temperatures combined with light winds and cold water helped Lake Mendota officially freeze on Sunday, January 12th, 2020, as declared by the Wisconsin State Climatology Office.

Lake Mendota, the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed, froze 18 days shy of January 30th – which is the latest date that ice-on has ever been declared (1/30/1932). The Wisconsin State Climatology Office requires ice to hold for a period of 24 hours before a lake can officially be declared frozen over.

The January 12th freeze date is two days after last year’s second freeze date of January 10th. The median freeze date for Lake Mendota is December 20th.

Panoramic Photo of Lake Mendota on 14 January 2020 - two days after Lake Mendota froze over
View of Lake Mendota’s ice on January 14th, 2020 – two days after the lake was declared frozen over.

We have a Winner!

Clean Lakes Alliance once again held its annual Mendota Freeze Contest, asking people to make a guess as to when the lake would officially freeze. Of the more than 1600 people to enter the contest, over 20 guessed Lake Mendota would freeze on January 12th.

Randomly selected from those to guess the correct date was Jennifer Borgstrom of Madison. She will receive a $1,000 Lands’ End gift card as a grand prize. Borgstrom says she will likely use her winnings to buy Lands’ End gear to use on a trip to Alaska.

Stay Safe!

Though the lakes look solid, don’t be misled – ice may still be thin. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recommends waiting for at least four inches of ice to develop before heading out to ice fish on our lakes. Always let someone know where you are going if you are venturing out on the lake. Or take a friend with you!

Mendota Freeze Contest - Frozen Lake Mendota

Get Ready for Frozen Assets!

Now that ice has formed on Lake Mendota, Clean Lakes Alliance is busy preparing for the free, family-friendly Frozen Assets Festival held on Saturday, February 8th at The Edgewater. Athletes looking to go the extra mile for our lakes can compete in the Frozen Assets 5K. This unique run/walk starts and ends at The Edgewater. It is held entirely on frozen Lake Mendota.

Frozen Assets Collage - Photos Courtesy Jeff Halverson
Frozen Assets Festival – photos courtesy Jeff Halverson Photography
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