Fluctuating Temperatures and Little Snowfall Impacting Ice Safety
It has been a pattern of freeze, thaw, then refreeze again so far on the Minnesota lakes. Colder temperatures followed by a day or two of mild temperatures has caused the ice to not be as thick as in years past.
“In normal years we have quite a bit of snow,” Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch said. “When you get any amount of snow on the ice it insulates the ice and does not allow it to freeze as solid.”
Even when the snow comes, that still bring up another issue.
“When we do get the snow, it creates a lot of slush that creates hazards where you can get stuck in it or snowmobiles, trucks,” Burch said. “The ice may be safe under it, but you’ve created another issue of danger.”
The ice is not as thick in December as it is in February, so Sheriff Burch recommends you avoid groups of people on the ice.
“If you are dealing with four or five inches of ice, my suggestion would be to spread out to disperse that weight,” Burch said. “The more you are spread out, the less concentration in that area.”
While there is no such thing as safe ice, the best way to be safe is to always have a plan.
“There is a lot of variables that goes into using the lakes in the winter; the biggest thing is let people know where you are, where you are in the lake, what you are doing and when you are going to return.”