Staying Safe on the Ice

By: TJ Eck - Email
By: TJ Eck - Email

People who head out for activities on frozen bodies of water should be extra careful in the coming days with warmer weather expected for the North Platte area.

Anglers were out on the ice at Lake Maloney Tuesday afternoon, braving cold temperatures to land the next big catch. But before setting up shop and dropping a line in the lake, fishermen need to make sure the ice is plenty thick.

"You need to drill holes in the ice about every ten yards or so to make sure that you have at least four...thick inches of ice," said Julie Geiser with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. "Six to 10 (inches) is desirable but if you have four inches, that's pretty good."

When it comes to bodies of moving water, it is never a good idea to venture on to the ice. The North and South Platte rivers may appear to be frozen, but looks can be deceiving.

"There are actually open channels even in the frozen ice right now," said Bill Taylor, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in North Platte. "That ice is pretty unstable."

Instability that will only get worse as warmer weather is expected to make its way into the area this week.

"Temperatures are going to be warming back up into the 50s and maybe even into the lower 60s and that is going to weaken the ice pretty rapidly," said Taylor.

For those heading out on to a frozen lake or pond, higher temperatures should mean an increase in caution.

"Wear a personal flotation device," said Geiser. "Carry fifty foot of rope with you, just in case an accident should happen."

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