Parts of the Chesapeake Bay began to ice over Wednesday as an Arctic front brought the chill of the polar vortex into Maryland.
The U.S. National Ice Center’s map of the Chesapeake Bay was ice-free Tuesday, but a day later, it showed ice starting to build up on shores from the lower Eastern Shore to the Susquehanna River.
Waters around Fishing Creek in Dorchester County, including parts of the Honga River and Tar Bay, were as much as 90 percent covered in ice, the center reported. Poplar Island, in Talbot County, was also mostly surrounded by ice.
Ice was more slowly building up at the mouth of the Susquehanna, in the northern creeks of Eastern Bay on the south side of Kent Island, and in the northern Creeks of the Choptank River, around Tilghman Island and St. Michael’s. Those areas had ice cover of between 10 and 30 percent, the ice center reported.
Such ice buildup is common during major cold snaps, but it takes days of prolonged cold for more widespread ice cover to develop.
Last year, Maryland Department of Natural Resources ice breakers were busy, too, needed to clear paths for boats in Spa Creek in Annapolis and to and between Smith Island and Crisfield.
Ice was expected to continue building up Thursday, with overnight lows in the single digits and highs forecast only in the 20s. Similar cold, and some snow, are forecast Friday.
According to a tweet from the Department of Natural Resources, its buoy tender, M/V J. Millard Tawes, will depart at 6 a.m. Friday en route to Smith Island at the request of the ferry boats and a marine contractor who need ice cleared from the channel into Ewell.