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DNR: Don't let guard down on the ice

Tyler Tribute of Tyler, Minnesota

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With the recent weather mix creating varying ice conditions around the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urges people to not let their guard down.

"Snow is bad for ice, but when rain is added—plus above and below freezing temperatures—this mix all in one week is not helping solid ice form," said Kara Owens, DNR boating and water safety specialist.

Snow insulates the ice, preventing the cold air from getting through, which slows down the ice formation process. The heavy snow pushes down on the ice and could cause cracks. Right now, the ice under the snow could already be brittle because temperatures have been above freezing within the past week.

Ice is unpredictable and never 100 percent safe, Owens said.

"We are urging everyone to think twice before going out on the ice right now," she said. "We know Minnesotans are eager to get out and enjoy the snow, but everyone needs to keep in mind the ice on your lake may not be safe."

The DNR recommends anyone heading out on the ice should carry a set of ice picks, check with a local bait shop or resort—ask about ice conditions—and measure the ice.

The DNR clear ice thickness recommendations are:

Four inches for walking;

Five inches for a snowmobile or ATV; Eight-12 inches for a car and 12-15 inches for a medium-sized truck.

When the temperature rises above freezing for six of the last 24 hours, double the recommended minimum thickness. And remember, if it stays above freezing for 24 hours or more, stay off the ice— it is not safe.

For more information,

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Original Publication Date: January 1, 2014

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