'Thin ice signs are there for a reason,' sheriff says after SUV breaks through the ice

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An SUV went through the ice on Lake Minnetonka Wednesday morning, which has officials reminding people to pay attention to thin ice signs.

The vehicle went in the water close to shore at Wayzata Beach on Wayzata Bay around 11 a.m. – right near a thin ice warning sign, a news release says.

"Today’s incident marks the first vehicle through the ice in Hennepin County this winter. Let’s make sure it’s the last," Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said in the release. "If you see a thin ice sign, do not ignore it. Do not drive by it."

Ice conditions across the county are "deteriorating quickly," Stanek notes. "And there's more warm weather forecasted for this weekend."

The high temperature in the Twin Cities for Saturday is 53 degrees and mostly sunny, the National Weather Service's website shows.

Here's how they got the vehicle out of the lake (video courtesy of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office):

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Fish house removal date is approaching

As spring approaches, so does the date you have to remove ice fishing houses.

"Anglers with permanent houses on the lakes should be reminded that the removal date for those shelters is approaching along with warmer temperatures," Conservation Officer Tony Salzer of Ham Lake said in a Department of Natural Resources news release.

Salzer added: "Please remove your ice shelters early if ice conditions begin to deteriorate."


Removal dates depend on what lake the fish houses are on.

For inland waters, removal dates are determined by an east-west line formed by U.S. Highway 10, east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2 and east along Highway 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, the DNR explains.

If the lake is south of the line, fish houses must be removed by March 7. For those north, the deadline March 21.

For border waters, fish houses on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border need to be off by March 1, for the Minnesota border with the Dakotas, the deadline is March 5. On the Minnesota-Canadian border, the deadline is March 31.

Fish houses on the Minnesota-Iowa border had to be removed by Feb. 20.

Those who don't remove their shelters will be prosecuted and structures may be confiscated, removed or destroyed by a conservation officer, the DNR notes.

If the ice is safe, shelters may remain on the ice after removal dates if it's between midnight and one-hour before sunrise, only when they're occupied, the DNR adds.

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