St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Here’s some proof that the mild weather is not an illusion and that spring is on the way.

The US Army Corps of Engineers will be sending a team out onto the ice covering Lake Pepin on Wednesday to conduct the annual ice measurements used to predict the start of the shipping season on the Upper Mississippi River. Because of its slower currents, Lake Pepin is the last place on the river’s navigational channel where the ice breaks. The team uses air boats and GPS devices to reach specific locations on the lake to test both the thickness and the quality of the ice.

The Army Corps of Engineers says last year, the Motor Vessel Ronald Wagonblast was the first river tow to push barges through Lake Pepin and reach St. Paul. Due to the region’s exceptionally mild winter, the passage occurred on March 13th. The average date for the opening of the shipping season over the past 10 years is March 24th.

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