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State Officials Want Local Observations As 'Ice Out' Season Begins

Weirs Cam

New Hampshire's frozen lakes and ponds are starting to thaw as winter winds down, and state officials want citizens to send in their observations of local "ice out" dates.

The Department of Environmental Services says “ice out” is declared when a water body is completely thawed and will likely stay that way into spring.

Officials want people to report on their local lakes and ponds as they become ice-free or navigable by boat.

This is already happening on some lakes in the Southern New Hampshire. It's early, but similar to conditions in other mild winter years, like 2016 and 2018.

The main event for “ice out” in the state is on Lake Winnipesaukee. It's a traditional sign of spring, usually declared by a spotter plane in mid to late April. In 2016, it happened on March 18.

This year's temperatures have also already affected the lake – its famed ice runway in Alton Bay has remained closed due to inconsistent ice thickness.

State officials say they'll need more long-term data – of “ice-in” dates as well as spring thaws – to fully show whether warmer winters are causing shorter ice seasons.

Residents can report local ice conditions to the state by clicking here.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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