Balmy temperatures in the 30s, 40s and maybe even 50s over the next week had authorities warning Saturday that lake, pond and river ice is far less safe than it usually is in February.
Case in point: Around 7:40 a.m. Saturday, Hennepin County sheriff’s deputies and Wayzata police officers were called to Wayzata Bay after a passerby reported seeing a vehicle in the water.
Deputies from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol plunged in to confirm that nobody was still in it. The vehicle’s owner was soon found and confirmed that those who had been in the car had gotten safely to shore.
The vehicle — one of several to sink into mushy lake or pond ice in Minnesota over the past few days — will be retrieved from the lake at the owner’s expense, said Sheriff Rich Stanek.
“Ice in Minnesota is never totally safe,” Stanek said in a news release. “The reason is you get changing, shifting conditions. You’ve got underwater streams, irrigation streams, all kinds of things that weaken ice, especially in the channels and along the shoreline.”
A minimum of 4 inches of ice is recommended for walking and small group activities, and a minimum of 8 inches is recommended to support a car or small pickup truck.
The good news is that with the weather so unseasonably warm, there’s plenty of weekend activities to pursue on solid land.