Lake Mendota & Monona seeing fewer days per year of ice coverage

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) Have the itch to do winter sports on any of our lakes? The wait is almost over according to the Madison Lakes Ice Summary report.

The Wisconsin State Climatology Office has records of ice on Lake Mendota, Monona, and Wingra dating back to the late 1800s.

Based on averages, Lake Mendota will freeze over by December 20. The earliest the lake has ever become frozen was November 23, 1880. The latest the lake has frozen over was on January 30, 1932.

Lake Monona averages December 15 for the first coating of ice with the earliest date of November 22, 1880. The latest being Jan 30, 1932.

Lake Wingra, being smaller and shallower, will freeze over by November 29, on average. The earliest was November 2, 1913 and the latest was December 30th, 2015.

Also noteworthy, the normal days per winter which the lakes are considered frozen are becoming shorter too.

For instance, let’s take a look at Lake Mendota. The lake currently averages 100 days of ice on it per year. Back in the 1880s, Lake Mendota averaged 131 more days of ice per year. In fact, seven of the top ten fewest years of ice coverage days have occurred in the last 25 years.