The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, will begin its annual ice measurements at Lake Pepin on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
The Corps takes ice measurements on Lake Pepin to forecast the navigational outlook on the Upper Mississippi River. Measurements taken here give the best outlook as it is the last segment in the navigation channel in which winter ice will break up.
A survey crew uses an airboat and GPS to collect the data. The information is used by the navigation industry to predict when it's safe to break through the ice and begin the 2019 navigation season.
Last year, the motor vessel Michael Poindexter was the first tow to pass through Lake Pepin and reach St. Paul, arriving April 11. Historically the average date in which navigation is open occurs during the third week of March.
Normally, ice measurements are completed weekly or biweekly until the navigation season begins. Find past and present Lake Pepin ice measurements at www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/Ice-Measurements/.