KEYC - Warm Winter Has Officials Encouraging Safety On The Ice

Warm Winter Has Officials Encouraging Safety On The Ice

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The sun is belting down on local lakes as the unseasonably warm weather continues to melt the ice.

And as the warm streak continues, officials say you can't judge the thickness of the ice by its initial appearance.

Blue Earth County Chief Deputy Mike Maurer said, "We always recommend that people have ice picks with them or an ice chisel to check the ice depth as they go along so they don't walk into conditions where ice randomly becomes thin or something like that."

According to the Department of Natural Resources, the strength of ice depends on the depth of water under the ice, the size of the body of water and the local climate.

And area anglers who've been driving their fish houses on the lake say the decrease in ice thickness has them prepared for the worst case scenario.

Mike Shain of Eagle Lake said, "I have the windows down and the doors unlocked so I'm ready to bail if I have to."

Officials say it's especially difficult to escape in an enclosed vehicle that has fallen through the ice because of the water pressure that pushes on vehicle doors underwater.

And with this week's forecasted warm temperatures, ice thickness could drop below 12 inches later this week, making for extremely dangerous conditions for motor vehicles... conditions that officials say should be taken seriously for those who head out on the ice.

--KEYC News 12