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opportunities, please call 701-250-8212 or 866-476-5348.

After two days of record warmth over much of the region, another record may well be within reach.

TOM STROMME/Tribune The open water in the Missouri River channel between Bismarck and Mandan remains free in this photo taken on Jan. 4.

By BRIAN GEHRING Bismarck Tribune

The freeze-up record on Lake Saka- PO Box 5516

Bismarck, ND 58506-5516 701-223-2500 Bakken Weekly is produced

by the Bismarck Tribune and distributed throughout the Williston Basin.

kawea could fall within the next few days. The latest date for freeze-up on the big

lake came Jan. 16, during the winter of 1999-2000.

Linda Phelps of the U.S. Army Corps

of Engineers offi ce in Riverdale said she was out on a fi eld trip Jan. 3 and saw that many of the reservoir’s back bays, which normally freeze over by now, have open water or thin ice covering them. The corps has tracked freeze-up and

ice-off on Lake Sakakawea since it was fi lled, dating to the winter of 1953-54. Corps records show the lake has always frozen over completely during the winter.

But if the freeze-up record is to remain

intact, Mother Nature has some work to do. “It’s going to take some cold, cold weather for an extended period of time,” Phelps said. The water temperature Jan 3 was 35

degrees on Lake Sakakawea and 41 de- grees on Lake Oahe. Offi cially, Sakakawea is frozen over when the lake freezes at the intake struc- ture at the dam. The chief mechanic on duty makes the call. Phelps said there were a few ice houses

Jan. 3 on Tobacco Bay, but other areas like Skunk Bay and McKenzie Bay, were barely iced over. The earliest date Lake Sakakawea has

ever frozen over was Nov. 23, 1955. The earliest date for ice-off was March

25, 2003, and the latest date for ice-off came on May 17, 1979. The shortest duration of ice cover on

Lake Sakakawea was during the winter of 2002-03 — 73 days — and the longest duration was 165 days during the 1955- 56 winter. Historical data on freeze-up and ice-

off dates on the Missouri River in Bis- marck-Mandan likely is not available, said Alan Schlaag, hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Bismarck. Schlaag said even during the coldest

of winters, there is open water on some stretches of the river. (Reach reporter Brian Gehring at 701- 250-8254 or brian.gehring@bismarcktri-

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