HENNEPIN COUNTY, Minn. (WCCO) — The same week Hennepin County Deputies began patrolling Lake Minnetonka with snowmobiles, a Thin Ice Advisory has been issued. Friday’s advisory will remain in effect for all bodies of water in Hennepin County.
Even with cold temperatures in the forecast this weekend, the warmer weather and rain have made things dangerous.
“When you get that water on top, it starts to pool and it gravitates to cracks and starts creating holes,” said Darrell Huggett with Hennepin County Sheriff’s water patrol. “They’re hard to see, so it’s time to get that message out.”
This week, the sheriff’s water patrol began using their snowmobiles on Lake Minnetonka.
“There’s enough snow on top that allows us to maneuver our snowmobiles safely,” said Sgt. Clayton Sedesky.
They’re used primarily for emergencies and the transfer of an SWI driver (snowmobiling while intoxicated).
That’s about the same time the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued a warning about the rising temperatures. The DNR said when the temps go above freezing for six hours during a 24-hour period, ice can weaken.
On Wednesday afternoon, a father and son on an ATV went through the ice on Lake Minnetonka below the Coffee Bridge. Both were able to escape safely.
That same day, WCCO found dozens of ice fishermen on the lake trying to catch walleye.
“Fishing hasn’t been all that good today,” said Bob Johnson on Lake Minnetonka. “It’s too windy out here. The sun is nice, but the fishing isn’t.”
The Sheriff’s Office says people venturing out on the ice should carry ice picks and wear a life-jacket.
“[Ice] is never 100 percent safe — be on your toes and look for the warning signs,” Huggett said. “The DNR says ‘No fish is worth your life’ and we agree.”
There will also be extra patrols on Medicine Lake after deputies received reports of reckless behavior by people on ATVs and snowmobiles. The speed on Hennepin County lakes is 50 mph during the day and 30 mph at night.