Outdoor ice rinks fall victim to warm-up
Warm winter temperatures are creating havoc for outdoor ice rinks. Just when students are off from school, the warm-up into the upper 30s and even 40s destroyed the progress the cities were making to open the rinks. "We were close to being ready ...
Warm winter temperatures are creating havoc for outdoor ice rinks.
Just when students are off from school, the warm-up into the upper 30s and even 40s destroyed the progress the cities were making to open the rinks.
"We were close to being ready for skating," said Tony Sailer, Brainerd Parks and Recreation director, adding the well-used rink at Gregory Park in north Brainerd was supposed to be open last Monday. As temperatures warmed, snow-covered melted revealing green grass. "We are back down to dirt," Sailer said of the ice rink. "We will start flooding again Friday. It normally takes about 10 days under optimal conditions to have the rinks skateable. However, with so much moisture in the ground, if that freezes - and it should - we will be able to build ice faster. If need be, we will bring crews in earlier in the mornings to flood when it is colder.
"So much hinges on the temps."
The forecast is frigid enough to make ice with temperatures expected to hit highs of single digits and drop below zero overnight. Friday's high is expected to be 27 degrees falling to 9 degrees at night.
Baxter skating rinks had the same issue for Trevor Walter, public works director, noting the city's rinks were nearly ready before the ice vanished with the warm-up. Baxter's outdoor skating rinks and warming houses are scheduled to open at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 29.
For those driving and hustling to get about this busy holiday season, the lack of cold and ice has been a bonus. But the outdoor skaters haven't been able to take advantage of the weather. Last year, it was so cold ice rinks and warming houses were closed. Christmas Eve 2013 was the coldest of a cold month of December. The Dec. 24 of that year high reached 2 below and bottomed out at 28 below zero overnight. Christmas Day of 2013 had a low of 24 below and rose to a nippy 11 degrees with 14 inches of snow on the ground. The entire month of December in 2013 was colder than average by 5.4 degrees. There were seven days during December last year where the high temperature never made it above zero. And there was a 13-day stretch with overnight lows well below zero. Nine of those night ranged between 10 below to 21 below zero.
The cold deepened at Christmas and again on New Year's Eve with overnight lows flirting with 30 below and highs never climbing out of negative numbers. The high on New Year's Eve of 2013 topped out at 2 below zero.
RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or email@example.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz .