By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota is experiencing record warmth this month, and the Department of Natural Resources is advising those venturing out onto the ice to be extra careful.

In a news release Thursday, the DNR said ice thickness varies widely across the state, especially as temperatures warm and the sun angle intensifies. Some lakes already have areas of open water.

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“Take extra safety precautions around the ice right now,” said Lisa Dugan, a DNR recreation safety outreach coordinator, in a statement. “Just because a particular spot was safe yesterday – or even an hour ago – doesn’t mean it is now.”

So far this season, there have been three ice-related fatalities in Minnesota, as well as several reports of vehicles breaking through the ice.

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Those heading out onto the ice are encouraged to wear a lifejacket. The DNR also advises that ice-goers wear ice picks and carry a chisel to check the ice frequently.

Be especially careful near shorelines and public access sites, the DNR says. Hazardous areas also include bridges, channel, culverts and streams.

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On Tuesday, the Twin Cities broke a high temperature record when the mercury reached 63 degrees. The previous record was set in 1878.