Mendota Freeze Contest

Mendota Freeze Contest

“Winter” descended quickly on Madison in 2019, with colder than normal temperatures recorded in October and November. Higher than average amounts of snow were also reported each month. But when will Lake Mendota freeze? Every year, the Mendota Freeze Contest calls attention to the year-round importance of our lakes on our local quality of life.

On December 1, 2019, Clean Lakes Alliance will kick off its eighth annual Mendota Freeze Contest. Weather watchers and ice experts of all ages will be asked to guess the official ice-on date for Lake Mendota. A winner will be randomly selected from all entrants who guess the correct freeze date.

Mendota Freeze

When will Lake Mendota freeze?

2019 Mendota Freeze Statistics
Mendota Freeze Statistics

A look back at 2018

Cool nights, light winds, and cold water helped Lake Mendota officially freeze on Saturday, December 15th, 2018. Lake Mendota, the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed, froze eight days after the smallest lake in the watershed, Lake Wingra, which officially froze on December 7th, 2018. Lake Monona officially froze on December 11th, 2018.

The Wisconsin State Climatology Office officially declared Lake Mendota open again on December 21st, 2018. Lake Mendota has had double freeze dates only six other times since data collection first began in the winter of 1852-53. Other winters with two freeze dates are: 1936-37, 1968-69, 1977-78, 1978-79, 1984-85, and 2001-02.

Lake Mendota Ice Panoramic
Lake Mendota with a thin layer of ice in the early fall of 2018, seen from James Madison Park in Madison

2018 winner of the Mendota Freeze Contest

Clean Lakes Alliance’s annual Mendota Freeze Contest asks people to make a guess as to when Lake Mendota will officially freeze. Amy Lemley of Thompson, Georgia submitted the first correct guess for Lake Mendota’s first freeze date of the season. She received a $1,000 Lands’ End gift card as a grand prize. Lemley said she entered the Clean Lakes Alliance contest after hearing about it from her daughter-in-law, who lives in the Madison area.

Mendota Freeze 2

Contest Rules

Only one guess per individual. Multiple entries will be automatically disqualified. Official rules and regulations can be found here.

Mendota Freeze 3

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