This should be the week! Temperature gauges are indicating that the water temperature in Lake Winnepesaukee, New Hampshire’s largest lake, is at 41 degrees F. This is typically the temperature at which the big lake is finally freed from its ice-bound prison. Steve and Carol, like other Lakes Region residents, eagerly await “Ice-Out” as it signals the end of winter and the start of spring. It is also the unofficial start of boating season, and how everyone longs to be back on the water! "Ice-Out" is official when the ice that has covered the lake since late December has melted enough so that the lake’s signature cruise ship, the M/S Mount Washington, can navigate between Alton Bay, Center Harbor, Weirs Beach, Meredith and Wolfeboro. It does not mean that the ship will get underway, just that it could if it wanted to. Ice-out means islanders can return to their cottages, and soon the summer people will head back to check on their camps. The date for ice-out has been observed and recorded for more than 130 years. The earliest date for ice-out was March 23, 2012, and the latest was May 12, 1888. Initially, the ice-out date was noted by those on land, but in the 1980s it started being recorded by plane as local pilot Alan Emerson of Emerson Aviation did a fly-over. Since 2002 his son, Dave, has taken over the task. As signs of spring appear, Dave flies over the lake several times a day, checking the breakup of the ice at each of the lake’s main ports. When he makes the ice-out call, that means it is official! There are several contests people can enter to see who guesses the ice-out date correctly. One is run by PSNH (now Eversource) and the other is posted at www.winnepesaukee.com, where you can also see daily photos of the ice. Rumors are flying that this could be the week, and Steve and Carol, along with other lake fans, are hoping it’s true. It’s been a long winter and everyone is ready for that season to fade away. With the lake back to clear, blue water, summer is just a warm day away! We hope to see you at the lake!