WINONA, Minn. (AP) -- The first commercial towboat of the spring is on its way through Lake Pepin on its way to St. Paul to officially open up the Mississippi River shipping season. The Deana Ann passed through Lock and Dam Number Four at Alma, Wisconsin, at 2:50 a.m. Monday. It was pushing 15 barges. The tow has encountered ice that was at least a foot thick in some areas of the lake. Once the Deana Ann makes it to St. Paul, it will mark a much earlier opening this year compared to a year ago. In 2008, the first tow did not reach St. Paul until April 11. The average opening in the last 10 years has been March 20.
March 23, 1.5 miles, Mile 824, SAC B-52 Crash Site:
March 24, 1.25 miles, below Mile 823, Spring Lake: