Traverse City Record-Eagle

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March 29, 2014

Sheriffs warn against ice dangers

TRAVERSE CITY — Warmer weather and rain mean Grand Traverse area residents who venture out on frozen bodies of water could be walking on thin ice.

Grand Traverse County Sheriff Tom Bensley cautioned anyone, including ice fishermen, about walking on frozen bodies of water over the weekend, particularly with warmer weather in the forecast.

“We’re telling people to be careful because with this rain and warm weather it could be loosening up,” he said. “Be careful. Check the ice. Where you walked yesterday may not be good today.”

Forecasters from the National Weather Service’s Gaylord post said high temperatures will be in the low- to mid-30s today, but could climb to the upper-40s by Sunday.

Forecasters also predicted another round of rain in the area starting Monday afternoon.

Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel said it’s probably not a good idea to test the ice that’s still covering Lake Michigan off Benzie County’s shore.

“We’re getting into that position where common sense would tell you ‘get off the ice’,” he said.

Mike Borkovich, Leelanau County’s sheriff, said high winds blowing from the south this week make Lake Michigan’s ice even more hazardous. He said the region is at the “outer edge” of the ice fishing and ice recreation season.

“I think people are going out on a proverbial limb to be doing anything on the ice,” Borkovich said.

Leelanau County officials are still receiving inquires from people who want to visit the ice-cave formations on Lake Michigan.

“We’ve been telling people it’s not a good thing to do right now,” Borkovich said.

Record-Eagle writer Sarah Elms contributed to this report.

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