Early Spring??

2017-0218-1136
We have had a warm winter, no day warmer than today (February 18, 2017) when it was 50 degrees. Today, it looks like we won’t have too much trouble starting the new season about a month from now, but don’t bet on it. The ice you see in the harbor, below, will likely be blown around a lot in the next month. A wind from the west can take some of it under the Lift Bridge and out into Lake Superior. The next day, an East wind could bring it back in. I will post some more pictures as it moves around. It appears to fill the Superior channel, top right, now.
2017-0218-1145

Ice, wind, cold but not much snow

East wind of Lake Superior attacks Duluth shoreline
It was a cold and windy day on Monday, February 21, 2011, as it was the day before. On Sunday, the tent that was built over the south tower of the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge was torn to shreds by gusts of wind up to 69 mph. The tent was there to protect the bridge painters from the wind and cold, and to keep the material they were scraping off the bridge before painting from us. Probably worse is all the ice from Lake Superior that has now filled the north end of the harbor. The ship canal is full of ice; yesterday it was all water. Click here for a short video I took this morning. It is a bit choppy since I was trying to stand upright on ice and keep the camera mostly still. I kept some video in while I walked from my car to my ‘spot.’

Season to begin with the Alder on March 10th and the James R. Barker on the 18th.

The Alder announced their initial plans for the new season. See just below, dated March 5, 2009

The U.S. Coast Guard will be commencing icebreaking operations in and around Duluth/Superior Harbor on 10 March 2009. Areas of operation include Superior Entry, Superior Front Channel in vicinity of Barker’s Island, St. Louis Bay between Richard Bong Memorial Bridge and John A. Blatnik Bridge, and approaches to Duluth and Superior Harbor Entries.

The Coast Guard would like to remind all recreational users to plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels. Attempting to approach or cross over areas of ice broken by the Coast Guard could result in dangerous or life-threatening situations. Also, operations outside the port will disrupt the ice offshore in Lake Superior making it more susceptible to drifting.

Commander Kevin Wirth expects to break out from the Alder’s winter moorings at their dock on Park Point at 8:30 on the morning of March 10th.  They will also scout the offshore ice to determine thickness and coverage. They should return the next day, probably using the Superior entry again.
They will likely return to their moorings sometime later on Tuesday, March 10th. The first commercial shipping activity for the Twin Ports is expected to be the departure of the James R. Barker on March 29th.