Warning: What looks like a frozen lake or pond isn’t solid just yet.
Public safety officials are warning that even as frigid weather finally arrives this weekend, the ice still is too thin to support a human, a dog, a snowmobile, an ATV or other vehicles. After our warm fall, ice still is forming on many bodies of water, according to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.
On Thursday, Eagan firefighters rescued two dogs that had fallen through an icy East Thomas Lake.
“I know many people are excited to enjoy our frozen lakes and rivers for fishing or ice skating, but going out on the ice right now would be a life-threatening risk,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.
No amount of ice is ever considered 100 percent safe, the Sheriff’s Office said. Some smaller bodies of water may appear to have safe ice, but the thickness can vary greatly and is affected by the size and depth of the body of water, its currents and water chemistry.
In general, the ice needs to be at least 4 inches thick for ice fishing and other on-foot activities, 5 inches for a snowmobile or ATV, 8 to 12 inches for a car or small pickup and 12 to 15 inches for medium truck.
Double those amounts if it’s “white ice” or “snow ice,” which is only about half as strong as new, clear ice, the DNR says.
And remember, the ice may be a foot thick in one spot and only an inch or two thick just a few feet away.
To be safe, don’t venture out onto the ice at night. Wear a life jacket and carry safety gear such as a pick and a rope to throw to someone who has fallen through. Finally, keep your dog on a leash.