Lake Pepin, MN (KROC-AM News) - Last weekend’s brief warm-up softened up the ice on Lake Pepin a little bit, but it remains well over two-feet thick in many areas. A team from the US Army Corps of Engineers went back onto the ice yesterday to conduct a second series of measurements as part of an annual effort to provide some guidance to barge operators concerning the start of the shipping season on the Upper Mississippi River.

The new measurements show the thickness of the ice has dropped several inches on both the north and south ends of Lake Pepin, while it remains 29 inches thick near Lake City. The density of the ice is dropping. The first round of measurements conducted on February 21st found all of it was harder blue ice and now the thickness total includes up to a half-foot of slushy white ice.

Last year, Lake Pepin was considered open on March 1st, although the first barge didn’t arrive in St. Paul until March 9th. The average start for the shipping season is in the third week of March.

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