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Clara  James

Ice Safety on Frozen Lakes, Rivers and Streams in Minnesota

By February 4, 2013

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Every winter, people perish in Minnesota by falling through ice into lakes, rivers and streams. Even though the weather may have been sub-zero for weeks, it is never a guarantee that the ice can support the weight of a person, a snowmobile, or a car.

Underwater currents create uneven ice thicknesses, and ice that may be safe to drive on in one part of the lake can be dangerously thin in others. Lakes like Lake Minnetonka, scene of three fatalities this winter, is known for underwater channels which prevent ice building up, leading to areas of deceptively thin ice.

Many other lakes can also have thin ice, and it can vary significantly from one day to the next, and from one part of the lake to another. How can you tell? Heed warning signs, know how to test ice thickness, know how thick the ice needs to be to support whatever activity you plan to do on the ice, and know how to rescue yourself and others if a person or vehicle goes through the ice.

Get informed about ice safety: The Minnesota DNR has a quick reference guide to all of these and more ice safety tips this winter.

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