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Official warns of thawing ice on Twin Cities-area lakes with mini warm up

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An official with Hennepin County Water Patrol is warning people of thawing ice on area lakes with the brief warm up this weekend, WCCO Radio reports.

Darrell Huggett says people on the ice should avoid channels, pressure ridges and carp holes. He added that people should be mindful of the conditions, especially after below zero temperatures like those in Minnesota this week.

"With this weekend coming after a hard freeze, that’s when people think the lakes are much safer and they feel more confident, but really it’s the freezing and thawing, that makes the ice unstable," Huggett told WCCO.

Huggett's warning comes in the aftermath of a tragedy last week when an SUV carrying a family of four plunged through the ice in Lake Minnetonka.

The youngest occupant of the vehicle, 8-month-old Tabitha Markle of Minnetrista, was reportedly submerged under water in the vehicle for 15 minutes, and died in the hospital a few days later.

The girl's father, Jonathan Markle, reportedly took a shortcut in the channel between Priest and Halstead bays when the SUV went through the ice. Officials said they were also investigating to see if alcohol was involved.

The incident marked the seventh time in a week that a vehicle crashed through the ice in Lake Minnetonka.

Meanwhile, ice conditions led to a death in the northeastern part of the state.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that a 34-year-old man died after his snowmobile went though the ice on Lake Superior offshore from Bayfield.

Authorities said James Hudson broke through the ice in the channel between Long Island and the mainland.

Also, authorities said a Zimmerman man and his passenger escaped their vehicle when it plunged through the ice Thursday in a channel on a lake in Sherburne County, KARE-TV reports.

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