Lake Superior ice blown around by wind

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Two days ago, an East wind drove a lot of Lake Superior ice to our end of the Lake (above). Yesterday and today, we have had very high winds out of the west. Above, on March 6 we see the result of the East Wind, with a lot of ice in front of Duluth. After two days of West wind, a lot of that ice went back to the Lake. The Duluth harbor, connected to Lake Superior by the Duluth ship canal, followed the pattern, as you would expect. Two days ago, the harbor was full of ice, now it is full of blue water.
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Images from the NOAA – Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, with a nice animation of the events.

More ice from the East Wind

ice from Lake Superior was blown into the Duluth harbor
Ice from Lake Superior was blown in last night into the Duluth harbor through that convenient opening we have called the Duluth Ship Canal. It looks like most of the harbor, ship canal and out into the lake a ways is filled with this loose ice. Even though the next 7 days are going to be significantly colder than today (44 degrees on March 6 2017), there is too much daylight for the ice to have a chance to survive and cause problems for ship traffic, which may begin on March 22 when the Paul R. Tregurtha departs her winter berth to take a cargo of coal to Silver Bay. At the moment, that is the only coal shipment scheduled  this year within Lake Superior. Her next trip would be her usual route to St. Clair, Michigan at Detroit Edison.
Loose ice fills Duluth ship canal


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The East wind works her magic on Lake Superior

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The day (March 5, 2017) started cloudy and cold with a predicted high of 52; late afternoon the sun appeared but the temperature never got above 42. An east wind made my walk a little brisk but that was nothing compared to what it did to the ice on Lake Superior. After weeks of blue water, Lake Superior ice, not our ice for sure, arrived to slow our hopes for an early spring. I copied the images below from the NOAA-Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory web page; specifically the images from the set on the right side called Ice Thickness.
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If you click on the picture I took at the top, you can see ice in the ship canal under the Lift Bridge brought in by the east wind but the ice seems to hug the shore as it creeps along to the larger sheet of ice in the back of the Duluth harbor, as seen in the second picture.It would not surprise me to see the front of the harbor filled with ice by the morning. (Caution: if the ice does not fill the front of the harbor in the morning, I will probably delete the above prediction)

We will have lower than normal temperatures for the next week but by this time in March, the ice doesn’t have much of a chance with the days getting longer. Ice is nice during the dark days of December but it has a losing fight against the longer daylight hours.I doubt this ice will have much effect on the start of the shipping season in a couple weeks but what do I know.

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Early Spring??

View of Duluth harbor, the Duluth Aerial Llft Bridge and Lake Superior.
After a fake Spring, it is February 24, 2017 and it is cold again but Duluth stayed just north of a big snow storm going east. The lake is still blue, and below, the Duluth harbor ice has moved back, toward Superior. But it will come back, I think; we shall see.
Duluth harbor ice
Above, February 24, 2017; below, pictures taken February 18, 2017
View from Skyline Drive of Lake Superior and the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge
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 Duluth 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 Duluth Aerial 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.
Ice cover in the Duluth Minnesota harbor


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.