LACONIA — Gusty winds Monday afternoon broke up the last of the ice on Lake Winnipesaukee that was standing in the way of declaring Ice-Out on the state’s largest lake.

The traditional harbinger of spring occurred at 4:42 p.m., according to veteran pilot David Emerson, who made the official call as he flew over the northern part of the lake.

The last of the ice which was preventing the MS Mount Washington from cruising to all of its ports of call was located in Center Harbor, and around Black Cat and Three Mile islands, Emerson said.

“The wind did it in,” he said.

Another Emerson Aviation pilot reported on Monday morning there was still ice in the area around Center Harbor.

“But the wind started to pick up around noon,” Emerson. “At times the gusts reached at times as high as 24 or 26 mph.”

Ice remains in some of the coves on the lake, “But that won’t interfere with the Mount Washington,” he explained.

This year’s Ice-Out set no record. The earliest the event has occurred since records have been kept was in 2016, when it happened on March 18. The latest was May 12 in 1888.

– Michael Mortensen

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