There are a lot of thin ice warnings after that warm weekend

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Yes, it was a beautiful Saturday in Minnesota, with temps hitting the high 50s in some parts of the state.

But that sun and unseasonable warmth also means ice is even less safe than it has been.

In west-central Minnesota, a Windom man found an ATV in the water on Lake Mary Sunday morning – and couldn't tell if someone was on or near it, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office says.

It turned out some people had been fishing on the lake the night before when the ATV broke through, and they all got to dry land safely.

But it prompted the sheriff's office to remind people about thin ice (an annual refrain in the state), saying you should use "extreme caution" on area lakes since the ice conditions "appear to have deteriorated rapidly."

Over in east-central Minnesota, the Isanti County Sheriff's Office said an ATV went through Lake Fanie there on Saturday.

3-5 inches of ice lost

Check out this photo from the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office:

 Ice separating from the shore of Lake Minnetonka's Spring Bay Park. (Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office)

Ice separating from the shore of Lake Minnetonka's Spring Bay Park. (Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office)

That's a photo of ice separating from the shore on Lake Minnetonka, which the sheriff's office shared Monday along with a warning.

They said most of the lakes in the county lost 3-5 inches of ice over the weekend, in addition to this type of separation beginning to happen.

On Facebook, the sheriff's office said Saturday evening that ice conditions were "quickly deteriorating," adding simply, "Please stay off the ice."

https://twitter.com/mndnr/status/702861371126317056

The Washington County Sheriff's Office shared that post, and added its own comment.

"Don't let the snowflakes yesterday fool you....the above average temperatures have taken a toll on the ice thickness (or presence at all!)"

Start thinking about that fish house

And then there's fish houses.

Deadlines to get them off the lakes vary, from Feb. 20 to March 31 – but the DNR says you should haul them away if the ice seems like it's starting to deteriorate.

In Hennepin County – where the deadline is March 7 – the sheriff's office is "encouraging" people to remove them before then.

The DNR has some things to look for that help clue you in if ice isn't safe:

  • Slush can signal a weakening of the ice, and is a "danger sign."
  • Cracked or squishy ice at the shoreline means stay off.
  • Honeycombed ice, dark snow, and dark ice "should be avoided"
  • Also, ice is generally thinner where there's running water – so thin inlets and outlets, bridge abutments, islands and other similar places.

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