ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — More than two weeks later than usual, the first up-bound tow has broken through the ice at Lake Pepin on the Mississippi River.

The Motor Vessel Roberta Tabor tow broke through about 12 to 16 inches of ice early Monday morning, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

On average, the first tow will typically push through on March 20. Last year, the Motor Vessel Deana Ann passed through Lake Pepin on March 17.

The event marks the beginning of the 2013 navigation season because, the UACE reports, if a tow can make it through Lake Pepin, it can make it all the way to St. Paul.

When a tow arrives at Lock and Dam 2, that means all of its locks are available to commercial vehicles.

The earliest date recorded for a tow to reach Lock and Dam 2 was March 4, which happened three times — in 1983, 1984 and 2000.

The latest date unrelated to flooding, the UACE reported, was April 4, back in 2008.

In 2001, flooding delayed the arrival of the first tow until May 11.


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