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Energy & Environment

Wind Plays Havoc With Possible Ice Caves Opening

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NOAA
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During the brutal winter last season, about 138,000 visitors went to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore ice caves near Bayfield after the ice became thick enough to safely allow walkers to the island caves. While it looked like conditions over the weekend were again favorable, a National Park Service employee says stay tuned.

Spokesperson Neil Howk says earlier this week it looked like an opening was possible, but high winds have changed the ice conditions on Lake Superior...He says if the ice is still there Wednesday(2/25), rangers will go out to test the ice to monitor conditions...

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"....yesterday(Monday) the winds started blowing at 40 miles per hour, and it's continued today. That has had a dramatic impact on the ice cover on Lake Superior. What was ice covered on Sunday is now opening up. Our rangers will be going out on that ice to see if there are new cracks, if there are new leads that have opened up, how thick the ice is, is it clear ice, is it crumbly ice, all of those things...."

He says satellite images have changed dramatically in the last 24-48 hours. He says over the weekend Superior had about 90 percent ice cover but now has large open water areas.

Howk says if it is deemed safe, visitors over age 16 will be charged $5.00 to go out. Under 16 is free. Parking will not be charged this year. He says the ice is very slippery and if visiting is allowed, travelers will need to protect themselves from falling. More information is on the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page.