West Bay is Frozen Over – But Don’t Walk to the Island

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It’s been about a week since I first noticed a skim of ice in Bowers Harbor on West Bay. We had a few cold and clear nights, and suddenly, the harbor was frozen.

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I took the above photo on Saturday, Feb. 10. Here’s another photo that same day from about the intersection of Neahtawanta Road and Kroupa Road.

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Bowers Harbor Ice, February 10, 2018 | Jane Boursaw Photo

Here’s another shot from the other side of the harbor, right before you head into Neahtawanta Resort.

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Bowers Harbor Ice, February 10, 2018 | Jane Boursaw Photo

And here’s a photo from my roving photographer, Curt Peterson, taken from Peninsula Drive over West Bay.

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Frozen West Bay, February 2018 | Curt Peterson Photo

On Sunday, the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay declared West Bay officially frozen, the first time since 2015, when the bay froze over and stayed that way for a whopping 53 days. I believe that was the winter of the Deep Freeze, where it fell below zero degrees and stayed that way for a while.

For the Watershed to make that statement, it means that the ice reaches to Power Island and has stayed that way for at least 24 hours.

But don’t get too excited about walking out to Power Island – not just yet anyway. It’s 41 degrees as I write this, and aside from Friday, when it’ll dip to 22 degrees, it’s going to be above freezing or right around freezing for the next week or so, according to Weather.com. That means the ice we see in the bay now might be a little slushy in the coming days.

On their brand new Facebook page (hop over and like it to stay up to date on emergency happenings and tips), the Peninsula Township Fire Department posted this about how to know if ice is safe or not:

Meanwhile, over on the east side of the Peninsula, there’s also a good layer of ice on East Bay, but I’m not sure if it goes all the way across or not. It’s definitely nowhere near the thickness of ice that’s on West Bay. Here’s a photo taken out my window on Bluff Road:

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Frozen East Bay, Feb. 12, 2018 | Jane Boursaw Photo

The ice-fisherpeople are always good about knowing when it’s safe to drag a fish shanty out there, so if you see them on either bay, it’s probably ok to walk on it.

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