January 23, 2019
Open Water in the White Lake North Bay
Frank Dyson is the White Lake Citizens League Board Member who has taken responsibility for overseeing White Lake water quality issues, as well as managing our weed control activities. He is a very long-term resident of White Lake.
When Frank received word of the open water in North Bay, like all of us, his first concern was the danger the situation created.
Beyond that, historically, he has seen unusual open water situations frequently, though not in North Bay. He notes that these events usually occur at times in which there is little or no snow on top of the first, thin coating of ice. No problem is evident until a period of bright sunshine. When we get sunny weather and areas of snowless ice, the dark color of the lake causes solar thermal absorption, and results in melting of some of the ice. If this melting is accompanied by windy conditions, it can cause larger areas to open up. He believes this is what has caused our open water event.
To further check this hypothesis, Frank has consulted with a number of the colleagues from other lakes who also are involved in water quality & weed control, and finds many of them have had some open areas recently.
As a result, Frank feels that with some cold, cloudy weather, North Bay will ice up completely. Of course, for the foreseeable future, that ice will be thin and very dangerous, so avoidance will be the watchword.
As has been widely discussed on social media, the fear of contamination is unfounded. The amount of material that could create the area of melted ice we have seen would require a huge quantity, with multiple tanker trucks to deliver and dump in the lake. Clearly this didn’t happen.
We will continue to monitor the situation in North Bay, as well as other areas with shallow, reflective bottoms, and advise our membership should other events cause alarm.
White Lake Citizens League