ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Ice on the Tanana River measured 37.7 inches on Tuesday, one day before the deadline for buying tickets to the Nenana Ice Classic.
The deadline is today at midnight for buying $2 tickets to Alaska's oldest lottery. To win, players must guess the day, hour and minute breakup will occur.
Given the warmer than usual weather, many were expecting breakup to occur earlier this year than normal. Breakup has occurred more frequently on April 30 than any other date since the Ice Classic was registered with state gaming officials in 1917. The median date of breakup is May 5.
The earliest breakup was in 1940 when it occurred on April 20 at 3:27 p.m. The latest date was 1964 on May 20 at 11:41 a.m.
Breakup occurred last year on April 29 at 9:47 p.m. Three winning tickets shared a jackpot of $280,500. Breakup came earlier than many of the organizers had expected, but a close look at the river showed the ice was rotting and probably no more than 18 inches thick when the tripod floated downriver.
In 1998, breakup was on April 20 at 4:54 p.m., the second earliest breakup. Seven players shared a $300,000 jackpot.
The Ice Classic was the brainchild of engineers working on a bridge over the Tanana River. It has grown from a few vendors in the town to 210 statewide this year. The game has handed out more than $8 million in prize money.
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