Why the ice may not be safe to step on this winter
WARREN COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s been an on-and-off winter for typical winter weather. After recent spells of warmth, more of the same is ahead, with Wednesday’s high of 33 set to give way to temperatures in the high 40s by Friday.
That creates a dangerous situation when it comes to the state of ice on water bodies. On Tuesday morning, Warren County Marine Rescue personnel were dispatched to a spot on Glen Lake where a man had fallen through thin ice while skating. The ice was about an inch and a half thick, and the skater was expected to recover.
“We are glad that Tuesday’s rescue ended well for all involved, but it could have very easily been a tragedy if not for the great turnout by our well-trained firefighters,” said Warren County Emergency Services Director Ann Marie Mason. “With the weather we have had so far this winter, please know that ice thickness is not what it usually is in mid-January, and stay off until we have a prolonged cold snap.”
The county is reminding residents that ice isn’t safe to tread on until it’s at least 3-4 inches thick. Ice should be completely left alone if it is less than two inches thick. Recommendations by the Department of Environmental Conservation include:
- 2 inches or less – Stay off
- 4 inches – safe for activity on foot, including ice fishing
- 5 inches – Safe for snowmobile and ATV use
- 8-12 inches – Safe for a car or small pickup truck
- 12-15 inches – Safe for a medium truck
The DEC also warns against setting foot near docks where bubblers are active. Bubblers and other de-icers are designed to keep ice from forming around docks, in order to avoid potential damage. This year, Warren County is urging lakeside property owners to think carefully about what kind of de-icing device they use, as some kinds can thin out ice over a dangerously wide stretch of water.
The above-freezing temperatures certainly make some outdoor activities more palatable, but have drawbacks. In a Tuesday Facebook post, the Lake George Steamboat Company made note of the lack of any solid ice forming as of yet. That fact may lead to changes in the schedule for the Lake George Winter Carnival, set to be held in the village over all four weekends in February. In a good year, those events include snowmobile and 4×4 races on the ice.