Friday, April 18, 2008

Not with a bang but a whimper

Ice Out has finally arrived in Porcupine County, but with all the zip of a wet firecracker. In fact, the departure of the ice from the Ontonagon River in Upper Michigan's real Ontonagon County occurred Wednesday, many hours before I posted the April 16 item below wondering when it would happen.

(See the April 10 blogpost for the full backstory of Ice Out.)

Steve Sundberg, this blog's chief Ontonagon County correspondent, emailed me late Wednesday that the ice had disappeared from upriver of the new M-64 highway bridge without having made a sound. Thursday morning, he said, the county road commission, which watches for the event, was reluctant to make the call of the official date and time of Ice Out. "They want to know if a Big Kahuna of ice jams is still up the river waiting to come down, or if it had melted away resulting in the paltry excuse for Ice Out Wednesday."

This morning Steve emailed that radio personality Jan Tucker had announced the commission had decided to use the time when the ice left from under the new bridge as the official instant of Ice Out 2008. That was Wednesday, April 16, at 12:33 a.m.

Six minutes later this follow-up email: "Jim Jessup, prosecuting attorney and president of Ontonagon's Rotary Club, just called Jan's show with the Ice Out contest winner, Lynn Walters of Ontonagon, who guessed April 16 at 1:13 a.m., 40 minutes after the official time. She won $474."

Steve sums up the 2008 Ice Out as "a most disappointing turn of events. A long, hard winter leaves in a whimper instead of the flash-bang crash of a real Ice Out. Oh, well, on to blackfly season."

At least spring officially has come to this blessed western corner of Upper Michigan.

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