Worthington sees warm weatherWORTHINGTON — The ice is out of Lake Okabena by mid-March. Wednesday, with the sun beaming from a cloudless sky, the glistening lake reminded that Minnesota is indeed the land of sky blue water.
By: Daily Globe, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The ice is out of Lake Okabena by mid-March. Wednesday, with the sun beaming from a cloudless sky, the glistening lake reminded that Minnesota is indeed the land of sky blue water.
Weather reporters have said several times in recent days that this Minnesota winter of 2011-2012 is without equal in weather records, save for the winter of 1930-1931. The warmth of that winter from 81 years gone by made a serious problem for Worthington.
By February, thermometers at Worthington were registering 50-degree temperatures. By Feb. 19, with the temperature at 52, the local ice harvest was halted. By the end of February — two weeks earlier than this year — the ice was gone. In that time before refrigerators and commercial refrigeration equipment, the winter ice harvest from Lake Okabena was urgent.
By early January, Worthington’s ice houses on the lake’s south shore were filled with 7,000 tons, but there were unexpected calls for Okabena ice from across the region. The Swift packing plant and the Armour packing plant at Sioux City needed ice. There were calls from several communities in South Dakota. The biggest order of all was from the Omaha railroad: 15,000 tons of ice.
In early February the ice was found to be 12 inches thick in some places, but the top two inches were soft. By February’s last day, callers placing orders were told, “You are out of luck.”