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Brutal Cold Leads to Early Ice Development

Brandon Weathers
Updated: November 11, 2019 09:28 PM

A stretch of temperatures typical of January is allowing ice to quickly develop on northern Minnesota and Wisconsin lakes. Ice is never 100% safe, and early ice should be approached with caution. In the event of an emergency, the Duluth Fire Department has a new device this year to help people in danger.

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The new tool is a floatation device that can easily slip onto the victim's arm. The Fire Department took time Monday to practice with the device and familiarize themselves with other equipment and rescue procedures so that they can be ready to provide immediate relief in an emergency.

Fire Captain Paul Gucinski warns against trusting early ice. He advises people to make sure the ice is at least 4 inches thick before walking on it. When you do go out, wearing a life jacket and carrying ice picks can help you pull yourself back out if you do fall through. If you see someone else fall through, Gucinski advises not to go out on the ice yourself. The best thing you can do is call 9-1-1.

"We want to make everybody aware of the potential problems with ice and to make sure that everybody's aware of ice safety guidelines," Gucinski said. "Make sure that everybody knows to be checking the ice before you're proceeding on any ice, no ice is 100% safe, you want to make sure you're checking the ice about every 150 feet as you're going out there."

With early ice, it's also important to remember that mild conditions down the road can lead to weak spots.

“A change in weather conditions can be a big factor in ice safety, especially in this area, because if we get a change in wind direction like we’re known for around here. That can cause the ice to move in different directions and shift and cause changes in the harbor, for example, which could cause the ice quality to change and could cause ice flows and ice to move,” Gucinski said.

Credits

Brandon Weathers

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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