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Sub-freezing temperatures bring beauty to lakes

Many of us have seen postcards with scenes of snow and ice covered lakes. The extended period of sub-freezing temperatures in Bladen County has brought a phenomena rarely seen in our area—frozen lakes. Jones Lake and White Lake as well as other lakes and small ponds throughout the county, were frozen this weekend. 

At White Lake, near Camp Clearwater, waves were frozen in place in some locations and in other locations, the surface appeared to have a smooth, glass-like appearance. At Jones Lake, the lake was also completely frozen. Near the shore, the lake was frozen solid but further out from the shore, the ice appeared thinner. 

“This is the first time I can remember it (Jones Lake) being completely frozen,” said Jones Lake State Park Superintendent Shane Freeman. 

Freeman said he has worked at the park for 11 years, and this is the first year he recalls it being completely frozen. He said the lake has frozen along the shoreline a couple of times during his tenure, but never to the extent it froze this weekend. 

“Typically, we have some pockets out on the lake that are not frozen,” said Freeman. 

Some Bladen County residents took advantage of the frozen lakes and walked out onto the frozen surface. Some folks enjoyed games on the icy surface as well. Freeman advised strongly against doing that. Walking on the icy surface of the lake may look like fun, but it can be very dangerous.

“I one hundred percent discourage people from walking on the ice,” said Freeman. 

He said while the ice may appear to be thick enough to support your body weight, you can very easily fall through into the frigid water. Freeman said hypothermia can set in quickly in such frigid temperatures. 

“This is a very, very unusual cold snap. Given the number of consecutive days with temperatures not reaching above freezing,” said Freeman.

White Lake resident Cathy Kinlaw said the last time White Lake froze in such a manner was in the late 1990s. 

“It’s been almost 20 years since the lake has frozen like that,” said Kinlaw. 

She said the most amazing thing has been the fact the lake froze even with there being some wind in the area. The wind causes the water to move and therefore makes it difficult for the water to freeze. 

“Last night (Sunday), at sunset you could not see movement. As far as you could see, the lake was still,” said Kinlaw. 

The lakes should begin to thaw this week with temperatures forecast to climb into the 70s by Friday.  

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