Take a look at my top-ten list of fears and you'll find 'falling through the ice' (somewhere between being buried in an avalanche and spending a Friday night at Chuck E Cheese).

With the recent warm weather, local law enforcement officials are advising us to stay off the ice across southern Minnesota. Le Sueur County Sheriff, Brett V.P. Mason says,

With the abnormally warm weather, anglers and other individuals recreating on Le Sueur County lakes should use extreme caution. Ice conditions are very inconsistent with many lakes having thin ice, to areas of open water on others. With the forecast for above normal temperatures, it is anticipated that ice conditions will likely deteriorate.

Mason's statement really applies to lakes all across southern Minnesota.

First and foremost, when it comes to ice thickness, safety, and predictability -- there are no guarantees. They keys to safety are awareness, knowledge, preparedness, and the ability to react calmly & effectively in case things go bad.

Minnesota DNR
Minnesota DNR
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Remember, temperature, snow cover, currents, springs and rough fish all affect the relative safety of ice. Ice is seldom the same thickness over a single body of water; it can be two feet thick in one place and one inch thick a few yards away. Check the ice at least every 150 feet.

White ice or "snow ice" is only about half as strong as new clear ice. Double the above thickness guidelines when traveling on white ice.

The Minnesota DNR offers several other after guidelines related to traveling on ice, having a survival plan, ice water rescues, escaping from a vehicle, and helping someone who has broken through. That information and more can be accessed HERE.

Every year Minnesotans die after falling through the ice on lakes. Be aware. Be smart. Be safe.

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