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Yes, there was lake ice in June in Duluth

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It’s official, Lake Superior had ice in June, just not in the Duluth area.

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 While the pack that remained here during the Memorial Day weekend created a lot of memorable beach images with air temperatures nearing or at 80 degrees, the ice was pushed out or melted before June came on Sunday.But points east still had ice this week. 

Ron Williams, a Great Lakes port meteorological officer for the National Weather Service, confirmed the rare occurrence.

“We definitely had plenty of ice on the first of June near Marquette (Mich.) and around the Apostle Islands,” he said. “Strong southerly winds … pushed it out from the shore on Monday.”

The last time Marquette had ice in June was 1996, and Brianne Horton has proof. She and her father had been talking this spring about recreating a photo he took of her on June 1, 1996. There’s Horton, age 9, sitting next to a lakeshore packed with ice.

“I don’t remember much about it then,” she said from her office in Marquette on Tuesday. But when Sunday dawned a new month, she got the anticipated ring on her phone from her dad.

“He called me up and said let’s go re-enact that picture,” she said. The locations aren’t exact, she said. They are about 800 feet — and 18 years — apart.

It was a fleeting moment Sunday, Horton said. The ice blew out later that day and by Monday there wasn’t any left in the area.

The National Weather Service in Michigan posted the June ice spotting on Monday.

“The lingering ice scattered in south central Lake Superior has survived to June, making this the eighth month in a row that ice has been observed on some part of Lake Superior,” the service noted. “Some ice remains, including a large ‘iceberg’ in the lower (Marquette) harbor that has portions extending to at least 10 feet under the water surface.”

That was likely a draw for those taking photos of people on ice floes. The weather service spoils the fun for a reason. The water is cold and it can kill.

“It is extremely dangerous to climb onto any of the lingering large masses of ice,” it warned.

Neil Howk avoided them last month. The assistant chief of interpretation and education for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore was guiding the annual bird and nature festival in the islands, but his boat could only go so far. There were “icebergs” everywhere in May, he said.

He saw ice Friday and was sure there were chunks of ice remaining on Sunday, especially to the southeast near Madeline Island.

Howk has worked in the area since 1983 and said he’s never seen such ice conditions in the Apostles. He said it’s likely that decades ago ice this time of year was normal and not an anomaly.

“This was just a real winter,” he said.

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