TOP 6 DATES TO PICK
2. April 23
3. April 27
4. April 28
5. May 10
6. May 8
TOP 6 DATES TO AVOID
2. April 30
3. April 20
4. April 18
5. May 6
6. May 12
The easiest technique to choose an ice-out date is to open a calendar to April/May and throw a dart. However, if you want to improve your chances of winning you might review the ice-out facts and throw a dart at a smaller number of dates. Or you can review the same ice-out data and look at the dates to pick/avoid (shown above) and choose a date based on the theory that the actual ice-out percentages will, over time, match the normal (Bell) curve. This is happening with each passing year but it's certainly not foolproof for any given year, although the above dates improve your chances over the dart technique. Are you wondering why May 8, 9 and 10th are in the top picks?
Answer: Over 10% of the ice-outs have occurred after May 10th. There is only 1 ice-out date for May 8,9,10th combined, around 1%. This creates a hole in the distribution. There should be 3-4 "ice-outs" on these dates to fill in the hole and match the Bell curve shape.
The rhetorical question I have for each of you is this. Did you pick up the clues in 2014 that the ice-out was going to be late based on the ice-out chatter? The clues for 2014 were pretty obvious. The 'Iceman' thinks many of you are just looking for an open date on the ice-out contest screen and inserting your date and not looking at the clues. Now it is hard to pick the exact date that the ice will go out. Even the Iceman has trouble doing this because of the wind factor. This factor is not in the database and the wind can vary within an hour in direction and velocity. The Iceman is not sure how to insert this very changeable factor into the database to help you pick the exact date but the clues for an early, normal, or late ice-out using the average high and low temperatures and the snowfall for each of the winter months are well established.
In the winter of 2013-2014 the average high temperatures for each of the winter months were colder than the average norm. For instance in February, 2014, the average high temperature was 58.12% colder than the norm (+9.2 degrees vs. 21.97 degrees). In December, 2013 and January, 2014 the average high temperatures were around 50% colder than the norm. March, April and May were 13% to 29% colder. So the first clues were a much colder December, January, without any warm up.
The average low temperatures from December 2013 to April 2014 were significantly colder also. The overall average normal low is a tad less than +1 degree (actually +.78 degrees). In December, 2013 the average low was-11.5 degrees. January and February, 2014 were 143% and 481% colder than the norm and the month of March when a warm up usually happens the average low was +1.2 degrees when the average normal is 10.09 degrees.
The average snowfall in December is 11.88 inches. In 2014 the December snowfall was more than double this amount, 24.5 inches, and it never melted or even thawed some. January had more snow too.
The cold temperatures and the total snowfall totals without a hint of a warm up should have pointed your entry to a late May ice-out date. This was one of the easiest years to predict.
The variability (commonly called the standard deviation) of the ice-out day is around 9.5 days plus and minus from the April 29th date. When the temperatures and snowfall are similar to what happen in 2014 the ice-out will be later than May 9th. An early ice-out would be before April 20th with a normal ice-out between April 20st and May 9th.
So review the monthly temperatures and snowfall amounts for the winter of 2014-2015 and make an educated entry into the 2015 contest and good luck!
© Iceman - January 2015