The ice on many lakes across the state isn't safe.
Ice quickly formed on many lakes and ponds during the snap of sub-zero temps we had, the Minnesota DNR said Friday. But the recent warmer weather – along with rain and strong winds over the weekend – has made ice unpredictable, and in many cases not safe to go out on, officials say.
Also: Not safe to have a house on.
Just look at the photos the Chisago County Sheriff's Office posted to Facebook Monday of this ice house that broke through South Lindstrom Lake overnight.
The sheriff's office and the DNR are reminding people that recent weather has caused ice to thaw and refreeze – and when that happens, ice is only half as strong as new, clear ice.
“The calendar nor air temperatures can be used as indicators of ice thickness or safety,” Lisa Dugan, DNR recreation safety outreach coordinator, said in a news release. “There are many variables to consider, including whether a waterbody has a current or run-off, the freeze-thaw cycle, and snow cover."
Ice should never be considered 100 percent safe, and it's important to check the thickness of ice every 150 feet – especially this time of year when its usually inconsistent, the release says. Ice should be at least 4 inches thick if you're walking on it and nearly a foot thick if you're driving a vehicle on it, according to the DNR's website.
Four people died after breaking through ice last year, DNR figures show. Of all the deaths from the 2010-11 winter, through the 2014-15 winter, half of them occurred when someone was on a snowmobile or ATV. About a quarter each happened with another vehicle, or with someone on foot.
For additional ice safety tips, check out the DNR's website here.