Those Venturing Out On To Ice-Covered Lakes Being Told To Use Extreme Caution

Mon 12-23-2019

(West Okoboji)-- No injuries were reported this (Monday) morning when a truck went through the ice on Brown's Bay, or in the Terrace Park area of West Lake Okoboji. Officials say it's proof of just how dangerous the ice conditions can be, especially early in the season. Steve Reighard, an enforcement officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources tells KUOO news ice thickness on the Iowa Great Lakes is varying a lot right now...Ice Dangers04 

"Spirit Lake there's roughly anywhere from 6 up to about 11 inches now I heard yesterday; East Lake is about the same. West Lake, in some of the bays and the canals that froze up first it's about 8 inches. A lot of it that froze up later it's only 4 to 5 inches."

Reighard says there are a few things you should keep in mind if you are going to venture out onto the ice...Ice Dangers05 

"If you're going to go out with a partner. Carry a rope with you in case one of you were to fall through, you can throw the rope to the other individual to get them out. Make sure you have a cell phone to call for help if you need it. Take ice picks with you. They make ice picks now that have string attached to them. They go around your neck with the pick itself that's actually inside the handle, but when you hit it into the ice the pick will come out. So if you do fall through you can use that to help pull yourself back up on to the slick ice. This time of year it's not a bad idea to have a life jacket with you going out onto the ice just in case you would happen to go through, that would help keep you afloat."

Reighard adds if you're going out on a snowmobile or ATV after dark on the ice to never out-drive the distance of your headlights. And he says you should always stay away from bridges and points or other places where there are currents.

Reighard says ice conditions currently are NOT thick enough to support vehicles.

Several pickups reportedly broke through the ice on Lake Shetek in southwest Minnesota over the weekend.