In a typical Wisconsin winter, most lakes across the state are covered in a thick layer of ice that people take advantage of for skating, fishing, and many other outdoor activities. However, unseasonably warm weather across much of the state is prompting a warning for people to stay off the ice.
The state Department of Natural Resources says three people in the state have died in the last week after falling through thin ice and drowning, including the son of a Green Bay Packer’s coach in Oshkosh over the weekend.
Patrick Moes with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the current warm weather across the upper Midwest means ice conditions are just unsafe in a lot of areas.
Moes says anyone planning to walk out on a seemingly frozen lake should think twice, since most frozen waterways cannot support the weight of a person right now. While temperatures have dropped below freezing overnight, highs in the 30s and 40s during the day and sunny weather has made most ice sheets fragile.
Moes says there needs to be at least several days in a row of solid sub-freezing temperatures before the ice is thick enough. Even then, he says safety should remain a concern with people encouraged to use ropes or carry ice picks just in case they fall through the ice. Moes says you should also make sure someone knows where you will be if you plan to be out.
Moes says catching a fish or skating right now is not worth putting your life in danger.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:13)