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Looks like less time for winter activities on Madison’s lakes this year

With the warm start to December and warmer than average weather in the forecast through Christmas Day, Lake Monona and Lake Mendota probably won’t freeze until 2021.
Madison Lake Ice Stats
Madison Lake Ice Stats(WMTV NBC15)
Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 11:04 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Do you have an itch for winter sports on Madison’s lakes? Unfortunately, you are probably going to have to wait until the new year to get out on a frozen lake.

With the warm start to December and warmer than average weather in the forecast through Christmas Day, Lake Monona and Lake Mendota probably won’t freeze until 2021.

Temperature Outlook - December 21 - 25
Temperature Outlook - December 21 - 25(WMTV NBC15)

The average date that Lake Monona freezes is December 15 and December 20 for Lake Mendota.

Madison Lakes Average Freeze Dates
Madison Lakes Average Freeze Dates(WMTV NBC15)

Lake Monona’s first freeze has only come in January 17 times since records began during the winter of 1851-1852. Lake Mendota’s first freeze has only come in January 35 times since records began during the winter of 1852-1853.

When Madison’s area lakes don’t freeze until January the duration of ice coverage is much shorter than a typical year.

Madison Lakes Ice Cover Duration Stats
Madison Lakes Ice Cover Duration Stats(WMTV NBC15)

When Lake Monona freezes in January the average ice cover duration is 73 days. When Lake Mendota freezes in January the average ice cover duration is 80 days.

In a typical year, the ice cover duration is 104 days.

The shortest ice cover duration on record for Lake Monona is 52 days, which was the winter of 1999-2000. The shortest ice cover duration on record for Lake Mendota is 21 days, which was the winter of 2001-2002.

The latest freeze date on record for Lake Monona and Lake Mendota is January 30 (1932).

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