Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cool weather does not mean strong ice

As snow continues to melt, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds winter recreationists that ice in the Twin Cities metro area is deteriorating rapidly.

“While we have had temperatures in the 20s or 30s that does not mean the ice on a lake, pond or river is safe,” said Kara Owens DNR boat and water safety specialist.

Right now the ice around the metro is in the melting stage and thickness levels vary from area to area, she said.

Many metro area lakes are still ice covered, but both the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers have open water.

The recent snowfall does not mean safe ice either. Snow weighs down on the ice and insulates the ice, preventing cold air from getting through.

So far this winter (November to April), two people have died from falling through the ice or in open water compared to six ice fatalities last winter (2012-2013).

On Jan. 23, a 38-year-old ice fisherman died after he broke through the ice on the Minnesota River in Scott County.

Less than a month later, on Feb. 15, an ice fisherman died after falling into open water inside his spearfishing house on Maple Lake in Polk County.

“The bottom line is it‘s crucial that people do not let their guard down and recognize ice is never 100 percent safe,” Owens said.

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