NORTHWOODS - The bitter temperatures heading our way Wednesday night have been pretty rare across the Northwoods this winter. The mild weather has made certain traditional winter activities a little more complicated.
Normally ice thickness is two or three feet and fine to drive on. Ice thickness this year has been sporadic. Warmer than usual temperatures and heavy snowfall teamed up to trap warm air near the ice.
"It's mostly comprised of air," said National Weather Service Green Bay Meteorologist Richard Mamrosh. "You have ice crystals and, you know, if it's very fluffy snow, they usually stack on top of each other. But there's usually air in between them."
Since snow is an insulator, people use the snow around them to keep warm air near them.
"People used to actually build igloos out of blocks of snow and ice because they actually had insulating capabilities," said Mamrosh. "Air is a really good insulator if you have your hand in a mitten or a glove."
Ice usually forms well when there isn't snow on the lakes. The early snow and slush made that impossible this year. Despite a poor ice fishing season, the snow did extend snowmobile season. Both of these seasons look to wrap up sometime next month.