It's been that cold: Gamble Bay partially freezes over during cold snap

    Gamble Bay frozen on Feb. 11, 2019 (Photo: Greg Gabrio)

    PORT GAMBLE, Wash. -- It's a very rare sight to see any kind of large body of water freeze around here, but that was the case earlier this week with Gamble Bay over on the Kitsap Peninsula.

    Frigid temperatures combined with snow run off to bring the surface of the water below freezing, even though the bay itself is salt water. It's not exactly as captivating as a perfectly spinning circle of ice, but it's still quite the rare treat to see in the Northwest.

    "Obviously one of the most used phrases over the past 10 days has been 'I have never seen anything like this,' " life-long Puget Sound resident Greg Johnson wrote in a blog entry. "This qualifies as a story about something I have never seen before."

    Johnson, who also runs the excellent local weather site, says the bay is typically around 52 degrees, but being salt water, would need to get to 28.4 degrees to begin to freeze.

    Gamble Bay is a long narrow bay with a narrow inlet to Hood Canal, which reduces mixing. And then, dump a whole bunch of freezing water into the bay and...Voila.

    "There are at least 4 fresh water streams flowing into the bay," Johnson wrote. "When fresh water meets salt water it does not mix right away. Fresh water is not as dense as salt water so it will 'float' to the top. In this situation, it will also hug the shoreline."

    Add in the frozen fresh water from the heavy bursts of wet snow which chills the surface layer of fresh water even more.

    "Suddenly, Gamble Bay becomes an ice maker," Johnson wrote. "Definitely something I will remember from all this historic weather."

    The ice has since melted.

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