First barges move through Lake Pepin

LAKE CITY, Minn. - OK, so Weather forecasters are talking about snow.

That doesn't mean there aren't signs of spring to be found.

In Lake City Wednesday morning, river boat Captain Larry Nielson snapped a picture of the tug boat 'Angela K' pushing a group of 12 barges through Lake Pepin en route to St. Paul.

Nielson, the skipper of "Pearl of the Lake," says thick ice coated the top of Lake Pepin until Saturday, when high winds broke up the ice pack to open up the river.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Nelson is right on track, as the Angela K is set to push through Lock and Dam 2 near Hastings around 5 p.m. Wednesday. The corps considers the arrival of the first tow at Lock and Dam 2 to signal the unofficial start of the navigation season. Historic ice thickness on Lake Pepin have caused the latest start to a navigation season since 1970 (excluding the 2001 season which was delayed due to historic flooding).

The average start to the navigation season is March 22.


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