It’s official – Lake Mendota freezes over!
Temperatures below the freezing mark, combined with cold water, helped Lake Mendota officially freeze in the early morning hours on Friday, January 7, 2022. The official declaration comes from the Wisconsin State Climatology Office. Lake Mendota, the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed, froze 23 days shy of January 30th. The latest ice-on date ever declared was on January 30th, 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 7 freeze date is only four days after last year’s freeze date of January 3rd. The median freeze date for Lake Mendota is December 20th.
We have a winner!
For the 10th year in a row, Clean Lakes Alliance held its annual Mendota Freeze Contest, asking people to make a guess as to when the lake would officially freeze. Of the more than 1,600 people to enter the contest, 98 people guessed Lake Mendota would freeze on January 7th. Randomly selected from those to guess the correct date was Jennifer Fjelsted of Fond du Lac. She will receive a $1,000 gift card courtesy of Lands’ End as the grand prize. Fjelsted said she has entered the Mendota Freeze Contest a few years in a row. She just picked a random date and her win was pure luck! She added that she plans on buying some warm winter gear with her $1,000 Lands’ End gift card.
Even if the ice looks solid, it may still be thin. The Wisconsin DNR recommends waiting for at least four inches of ice to develop before heading out to ice fish on our lakes. If you are venturing out on the lake, always let someone know where you are going or take a friend with you!
Race (or walk) on a frozen lake
Registration for Clean Lakes Alliance’s popular Frozen Assets 5K Run/Walk is now open. Participants can choose between a timed 5K race or an untimed 5K walk. All participants receive a t-shirt and kids 10 and under can participate for free with a registered adult. The only race in North America to take place entirely on a frozen lake in North America is the Frozen Assets 5K! The race starts and finishes at The Edgewater.