|BAYFIELD TO MADELINE ISLAND FERRY BOATS, READY TO RUN ALL WINTER LONG|
Sunday, 9:30 AM. 38.5 degrees F at the ferry dock, 37 on the back porh. Wind WNW, calm with light to moderate gusts. The sky is mostly overcast with some haze over the channel, but the sun is struggling through. The humidity is 83% and the barometer pretty steady at 30.25", predicting decent weather for the early part of the week.
Predictions are being made that ferry service from Bayfield to Madeline Island will continue all winter, due to warmer than usual Lake Superior water temperatures making it doubtful that ice will form sufficiently for an ice road to the Island to be maintained.
Current water temperature in the big lake averages 48 degrees F, 3.5 degrees warmer than last year at this time. The warmer water conditions are expected to continue throughout the winter, due to the influence of a stronger than usual 'el Nino effect in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, which will bring warmer and drier winter weather to the Lake Superior region. The meteorological conditions are predicted to return to normal by mid 2016.
The 'el Nino conditions may also keep ice from forming sufficiently to allow access to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore mainland ice caves, which were such a boon to tourism the last several winters.
Some folks are pointing to man-made Global Warming as the cause of the coming warmer, less-snowy winter. It may be that the naturally occurring, cyclic 'el Nino is intensified by so-called global warming and it may not, but in any case we will soon be back to normal conditions, with plenty of snow and cold in our future. We do live in Bayfield, northern Wisconsin, after all, and I am not planting any palm trees any time soon.