Rapid deterioration of ice

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On March 13, the US Coast Guard sent out the following information (see below) regarding the Coast Guard cutter Alder (above) and her upcoming ice breaking activity. It contains the following description of the current situation: “temperatures conducive to rapid deterioration of ice.” I took these 3 pictures today (March 15, 2017). The Alder is sitting at the Coast Guard station on Park Point. Below is the Duluth harbor. In the last couple of weeks, it has seen high winds coming from both the east and west. There are 3 outlets for the water and ice to move. In or out of the Duluth ship canal, below; in or out of the Superior Entry, just below, in the upper left and the St. Louis River, the mouth of it seen at the top right. The ice has been moving in and out and around but certainly not increasing in over all size. Daylight like today, much longer than the days in December, insures the ice is in a loosing battle with Mother Nature. That is mostly because the ice missed its usual opportunity to dig in so it would be hard to kick out; the cold temperatures of January and February. They were not there, leaving the ice without is armor. We are still 16 days before April 1, the date the Indiana Harbor tried to depart using the Duluth ship canal on that day in 2003. She tried 9 times to break thru the ice but finally had to give up the fight and wait, presumably for Coast Guard support. But several days later, they quit trying; there was only one thing left to do; wait for Mother Nature to do her work. Which of course she did. But until she did, no traffic departed or arrived using the Duluth ship canal for 20 days, when the Walter J. McCarthy finally made it out on April 21st. Read all about it here.
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View of Duluth harbor, half filled with ice

At the moment, the Paul R. Tregurtha will be the first scheduled traffic to move this season when she departs her winter berth at Midwest Energy Resources on March 22. Check our schedule at DuluthBoats.com

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Looking through the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge to Lake Superior

March 13, 2017: United States Coast Guard: U.S. Coast Guard Cutter ALDER will commence spring break out operations in the Duluth-Superior area Thursday March 16, 2017. These operations will continue periodically over the next few days and weeks to prepare regional waterways for the start of the Great Lakes commercial navigation season.
Initially, ice breaking operations will occur inside the Duluth and Superior Harbors. The ice breaking work will expand in the following days to prepare Two Harbors, MN, Taconite Harbor, MN, Silver Bay, MN, and Thunder Bay, Ontario for commercial ship movements.
Unlike some previous winters, this year was unseasonably warm. Regional ice cover is not as expansive nor did it reach traditional thicknesses. The forecast for the next seven to ten days calls for temperatures conducive to rapid deterioration of ice. All snowmobile, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) operators, ice fishermen, and other recreational users of the ice should recognize the instability of the ice, plan their activities carefully, and use caution near the ice, especially in proximity to charted navigation areas.

 
 

Comments

  1. It seems that the comments have vanished. The last one I left was that Alder was headed home. Neither of the tugs, Point Valour nor Teclutsa have left their slips since then. Apparently there is no urgency in Thunder Bay yet.

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