Lake Sakakawea was declared ice free Monday by observers at the Garrison Dam Power Plant near Riverdale. According to records kept by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2013 now ranks as the third latest ice free date for Lake Sakakawea since record keeping began in 1962.
Some pack ice was still visible Monday morning along the U.S. Highway 83 embankment that separates Lake Sakakawea from Lake Audubon. However high temperatures and rising winds made short work of the remaining ice early in the day.
The record for the latest ice free declaration for Sakakawea is May 17, 1979. The second latest date is May 14, 1970. 2013 is now third on the list, ahead of May 6, 1996 and 1997.
This past winter Lake Sakakawea was officially declared frozen completely on Dec. 26, 2012. The latest freeze date for the state's largest reservoir occurred Jan. 18, 2012. Sakakawea was filled behind Garrison Dam in the early 1950s.