Warming temperatures and melting ice push Minneapolis winter events back to shore
Despite a cold and snowy start to winter, Minneapolis winter activities are on thin ice.
What's happening: The combination of heavy snowfall and warmer-than-average temperatures this month has put a damper on popular events scheduled to be held on frozen lakes.
- This weekend's Art Shanty Projects have been moved off Lake Harriet to the shore, Luminary Loppet on Lake of the Isles was pushed from Feb. 4 to Feb. 18, and Minneapolis lake rinks are closed for visitor safety.
What they're saying: Art Shanty organizers said last week that due to warming temperatures, clear ice on Lake Harriet is only 6 inches thick — 4 inches less than they need "to operate safely with crowds and structures."
- Plus, an abundance of slush also makes it "impossible" to groom the trails on the lakes for Luminary Loppet, per the event's website.
Reality check: There's no surefire way to know if ice is safe, which also makes it difficult to determine if events should go on as planned.
- Although 4 inches of clear ice is generally fine for foot traffic, the Minnesota DNR recommends at least 13 to 17 inches for heavy vehicles and more for structures.
- As of Saturday, Lake Harriet's ice was 10 inches thick, but the ice thins close to shore. Lake Nokomis is around 12 to 14 inches, a Minneapolis Parks spokesperson told Axios.
What we're watching: The U.S. National Pond Hockey Championships, a 10-day event on Lake Nokomis devoted to showcasing the greatness of Minnesota's frozen lakes, is supposed to kick off on Friday.
- USNPHC didn't respond to Axios' request for comment, but the Parks spokesperson said the event will likely move forward.
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