Traverse City Record-Eagle


December 29, 2013

Authorities: Anglers, others, be wary of thin ice

SAINT CLAIR SHORES (AP) — Authorities have a simple warning as anglers, snowmobilers and other winter recreation enthusiasts head out onto Michigan’s lakes, rivers and ponds: Be wary of thin ice.

Below-freezing temperatures have caused ice to form on many waterways in recent weeks, but ice still is “unpredictable,” state Natural Resources marine safety and education supervisor Lt. Andrew Turner told The Detroit News.

“You have to always assume that it’s unsafe,” said Turner. “Four inches of one type of ice can be quite different than four inches of another type of ice.”

In addition to the risk of drowning, hypothermia — when a person’s body loses more heat than it can generate — is a major threat when someone falls into frigid water.

Lake Huron ranged from below 33 degrees to 42 degrees on Friday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Coast Guard responded last winter to 62 ice rescues on the Great Lakes, saving more than 50 lives.

“We know Michigan is a big recreation state and people like to enjoy every season on the water, but we prefer people don’t go out on the ice,” said Lt. Jeff Broussard, who is in charge of the Macomb County sheriff’s Marine Division.

Alan Christ, of Macomb’s Chesterfield Township, already has been ice fishing this season.

“I always check the weather reports for any crazy conditions,” he said. “I’ll also check the wind direction and I’ll check websites to get reports on ice thickness. If I see something I don’t like, I just won’t go out.”

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