Posted at 4:35 PM on May 28, 2010
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Lakes
Jump on in the water's fine. At least in southern Minnesota.
Lake temperatures have warmed to 70 degrees in the southern half of Minnesota this Memorial Day weekend. A brief trip on to Lake Minnetonka in the weather lab skiff produced a surface water temperature of 72 degrees at several spots in Carson's Bay Friday afternoon. 70 degrees is considered to be safe swimming for most people.
Lake temperatures are hard to come by up north (hint hint), but my estimate is that surface water temperatures range between 62 and 68 degrees on many lakes in central and northern Minnesota. This is still a little chilly, and may be a bit of a shock if you dive into your favorite lake "up north."
Our early and mild spring has given lake temperatures an early boost this year.
While temperatures may be relatively warm at the surface, the water cools rapidly with depth. At a few feet below the surface, temperatures will fall steeply in what's known as the thermocline. This rapidly cooling layer of water moves deeper as the summer progresses. Temperatures may fall from the 60s and 70s at the surface to the hypothermic 50s just 5 to 10 feet down below the surface this time of year.
Get out and enjoy the lakes this holiday weekend, but remember to "test the waters" before you jump into your favorite swimming hole!
Have a safe and wonderful holiday weekend.