Thursday, February 12, 2009

DNR issues ice safety reminder

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) water safety officials have issued an ice safety reminder now that temperatures have surpassed 40 degrees in many areas of the state.

“Even with the relatively thick ice produced by our cold January, it doesn’t take very long for ice conditions to become hazardous when it warms up,” said Tim Smalley, DNR water safety specialist. “That’s especially true for vehicles.”

The usual safety guidelines for cars (8-12 inches of new, clear ice) don’t apply under this week’s melting conditions. The slush created on the ice’s surface adds weight. The ice also softens farther down and may have less than half the strength of the same thickness of ice earlier in the season.

“A good rule of thumb is that when the temperature rises above freezing for six of the last 24 hours, multiply the recommended minimum thickness by two,” Smalley said.

The ice becomes unsafe if temperatures remain above freezing for 24 hours or more. Contact your local bait shop or resort to ask about the conditions of any lake you are planning to visit.
Ice thickness guidelines, videos and other safety information is available online.

Ice safety pamphlets can be ordered from the DNR’s information center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.

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