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Ponds may look frozen, but the ice isn't safe yet, officials warn

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A few days of below-freezing temperatures means ice has started to form on some small ponds and lakes around the state, which has officials warning about ice safety.

KSTP meteorologist Johnathan Yuhas says a small pond in Rosemount went from being open one day, to being covered in ice the next. And these ponds – which are often found in neighborhoods – can be appealing to kids, but the ice is still dangerously thin.

Others around Minnesota have reported ponds and lakes are starting to freeze over:

When will it be safe?

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says there's really no sure answer to when the ice is safe, and the strength of the ice depends on various factors, including climate conditions, the size and depth of the body of water, and water currents.

The DNR suggests there be at least four inches of ice if you're going to walk on it or go ice fishing, and about double that if you're going to drive a car out on the lake.

Last winter, there were at least three fatalities after people fell through the ice, including one at the end of November when an ATV fell through, the DNR says. Since 2009, Minnesota has averaged about 3.6 ice-related fatalities a winter.

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