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Lake Mendota frozen 7Jan2022

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.

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lake-mendota-ice

Clean Lakes Alliance kicks off annual Mendota Freeze Contest

On Wednesday, December 1st, 2021, Clean Lakes Alliance kicked off its 10th annual Mendota Freeze Contest. This year, Greater Madison experienced near-normal November temperatures. As of the first of the month, Lake Mendota, and the other four Greater Madison lakes, remained completely open. Despite this week’s mild temperatures, more than 165 years of data show the median freeze date for Lake Mendota is only a little under three weeks away on December 20th.

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Lake Mendota looking toward Picnic Point

Ice-on date arrives days after the new year

Air temperatures below the freezing mark throughout the last week, combined with cold water helped Lake Mendota officially freeze on Sunday, January 3rd, 2021, as declared by the Wisconsin State Climatology Office. Lake Mendota, the largest lake in the Yahara Watershed, froze 27 days shy of January 30th – which is the latest date that ice-on has ever been declared (1/30/1932).

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Lake Mendota Frozen Dec 2018

It’s Official – ICE ON for Lake Mendota!

Ice on date beats median freeze date by five days

Despite warm weather in Madison over the weekend, cool nights, light winds, and cold water helped Lake Mendota officially freeze on Saturday, December 15th. 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. Lake Monona officially froze on December 11th.

The Wisconsin State Climatology Office requires ice to hold for a period of 24 hours before a lake can officially be declared frozen over. After ice took shape this weekend, staff waited to see whether it would hold out through the warm daytime temperatures. The December 15th freeze date is 12 days ahead of last year’s December 27th freeze date, and a surprising five days ahead of the December 20th median freeze date. The latest freeze date for Lake Mendota was January 30th – which happened in the winter of 1932.

The Wisconsin State Climatology Office makes the official determination as to whether the lake is frozen. The climatologists use the same guidelines they have used for decades to determine whether the lakes are iced over. This allows for a continuity in data collection. Read more: Determining ice cover on Madison’s lakes.

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