Ice is starting to form on the lakes now and every year it takes a different path. This year Lake Wicwas is imitating an ocean with the ice ebbing and flooding like the tides. The first ice appeared along the edges of sheltered coves on November 29, accentuated by a dusting of snow over night.
The next day was cold, and dawn on December 1st revealed the sheet of ice had crept half way across the cove.
|Dec 1st, 8:15 am|
That night a couple of inches of snow fell and filled in the entire cove with a slushy layer that would be a stretch to call "ice" but nonetheless, there was no open water on that foggy morning.
|Dec 2nd, 3:15 pm|
But the wind picked the next day and soon the slush was worn away.
|Dec 3rd, 9:30 am|
As the day progressed the wind eroded the ice most of the way back to the far shore.
|Dec 3rd, 2:45 pm|
That night it was calm and cold again - at 19 degrees the coldest of the season I think - and the ice advanced again.
|Dec 4th, 8:30am|
But this day was calm and barely rose above freezing so the ice held its ground throughout the day.
|Dec 4th, 10:00 am|
And this morning: Another cold, calm night let the ice creep out the farthest yet, this time highlighted by a veneer of graupel.
All of the cove was frozen except for the area north and east of the point on the right, and last night Jack Frost was particularly creative in designing the artwork on the clean canvas of lake after the graupel fell.
|The area of ice between the shoreline and yesterday's ice.|
Graupel forms inside a cloud when super-cooled water droplets freeze onto an ice crystal churning around in the cloud.
|This bit of graupel fell last night.|
As more ice builds on the particle its mass increases until finally gravity pulls it down from the cloud to the ground.
|Graupel along with a few uncorrupted snow flakes.|
There's no way to predict the weather well enough to guess when ice-in will occur, but the fact that significant portions of the open lake have had skims of ice means that it could be soon; a couple of cold, calm days could do the job.
There was some unexpected goose activity on one of those cold, blustery nights. For about 30 minutes well after sunset there was a raucous explosion of geese squawking and honking out on the lake. I can't imagine what they were arguing about at that time of night in dark December - unless some members of the skein (flying group of geese) were revolting at the leader having brought the formation down in that cold, dark, windy spot for the night!
Winter is coming on strong now, though the inch or two of snow we picked up earlier in the week was the first measurable snow at the lake.