Lake Mille Lacs Ice

Mille Lacs Ice Report 12/24/2020

Access Remains Closed

At the Red Door, we have watched the ice on Mille Lacs shift and change significantly over the last 72 hours.  The access currently has approximately 2 inches of new black ice, and remains closed for the time being and at least through tomorrow (Friday), but perhaps longer.  The Ice Team will be out during the afternoon of Christmas Day to check ice conditions and depth and will then decide if the access will be open for walk on traffic only this weekend.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  Have a wonderful holiday.  Stay tuned for updates and feel free to read more of the details below.

How are there only two inches of Ice?

Last weekend, two breaks / cracks occurred near the Red Door access.  The first crack unexpectedly opened late Friday night approximately 1,300 feet off shore, on the south side of the first break.  This crack quickly opened up and exposed 200 plus feet of water.  Then on Sunday morning at 9:30am a second crack unexpectedly opened.  This crack exposed a couple hundred feet of open water inside the first break.  With the lake movements and those two cracks (see picture at right) the Red Door access was closed.

The ice sheets and lake continued to move around Monday.  By Tuesday, the open water was starting to freeze back up and the team felt good about the progress.  Then on Wednesday morning a crack reopened, exposing 300′ to 400′ of open water (again) and the Red Door access was back to the 500-700′ of ice coverage and then open water (this is the picture for this blog post).  Things looked much like things did on Sunday, December 13th, but this time the shore ice – and presumably the ice out further on the lake – was much thicker.

Then yesterday afternoon the shore ice disconnected and we were back to open water all over again.  The team literally could have put the dock back in the water.  Optimism was low, but, the wind was relatively calm and the temperature cold (i.e., single digits to negative 8 degrees this morning) and the access is now back to +/- 2″ of ice as far as the eye can see.  Temperatures are predicted to stay cold, especially through early morning.  Hopefully that means Mille Lacs will finally firm up, ice sheets will have reduced movement and the ice near the Red Door access will continue to improve.

What happened with the blizzard?

Overall the blizzard that covered the Red Door Resort yesterday was less potent and damaging than expected.  When the snow stopped late yesterday, the resort and the ice part of the lake was covered in about 5 inches of powdery snow.  (With less moisture in the snow and thus providing less insulating cover, the Ice Team breathed a sigh of relief.)  The winds were also less brutal than expected.  The Red Door roads and fish house parks are plowed and it’s nice to have the limited wind predicted over the next 48 hours.

Mille Lacs Snow Storm

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