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First ice floats through downtown Fairbanks

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Posted: Friday, October 12, 2012 11:58 pm

FAIRBANKS — The first ice of the season appeared in the Chena River early Friday, thanks to temperatures that dipped to 14 degrees at Fairbanks International Airport and even lower in outlying areas.

Residents in Alaska’s second-largest city were greeted with ice pans the size of dinner tables floating down the river through downtown.

Standing on the bank of the river, the tinkling and hissing sound of newly formed ice sheets could be heard as they ground their way downstream.

While sloughs, ponds and other small standing bodies of water began freezing up earlier this week, rivers had been immune to winter’s advance until Friday.

With the National Weather Service forecasting low temperatures in the teens over the weekend and highs not expected to climb much above freezing, expect to see more ice forming on lakes and rivers.

The ice didn’t seem to phase a flock of about 20 ducks swimming around in the river near the downtown footbridge.

The quacking ducks swam around in the maze of ice pans as if it were an obstacle course, weaving in and out of the ice and occasionally climbing on top of it.

Evidently, the presence of ice in the river wasn’t enough to convince the birds it was time to fly south.

Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.

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