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Get Outdoors: Breaking The Ice

Warmer temperatures and rain have caused ice conditions on area lakes to deteriorate rapidly. So in this week’s Get Outdoors Meteorologist Adam Lorch dives into the issue of late-season ice safety.

We had a VERY cold winter but that does not mean that the ice on the lake are OK now.

Boyce, Co-Owner of Day Tripper of Duluth, said “Ice especially, early season late season, you never know what you’re going to get. This time of the year after we’ve gotten some rain and lots of sun could be thick in one spot and something and another.”
Boyce spends a lot of time outdoors and a lot of time on the ice. But safety is his first priority. “If you don’t have a safety tools you probably shouldn’t be going out this time a year I only go out in a wetsuit.”
So gets me set up with a wet suit and takes me onto the ice. But first, we talk about the tool we will use.
“We do have some safety tools today so you can practice getting out of the ice with the wet suit on and see how it actually works.” said Boyce.
“This is what we call a spud its basically a big piece of iron with a sharp bend and what you’re going to want to do just hit the ice and if this goes through that ice is not gonna be safe to walk around and you’re gonna have to find another way.” I explain.
Boyce is also a paramedic, so he knows how the body will react to the frigid water. He says your first reaction might be to take a deep breath when the cold water hits you.
“Its gonna be kind of shocking. So the most important thing to do is to be calm. And from there you can work on getting out of the water but breathe a bunch of water in right away its not gonna go so well.” says Boyce.
Well, it’s time for me to jump in… Splash!
Even in a wet suit, the shock of the cold water hitting my face is enough to take me by surprise. Now its time to use ice pics to help me get out. But you also need to use your lower body.
“Get your feet up high and start kicking in sort of kick your self out of the water rather than dragging yourself out of the water like if you were getting out of the swimming pool.” says Boyce.
This exercise was just a small glimpse into what it could be like breaking through thin ice. But Boyce plans on making this a class, that anyone can take, next year.
Boyce  says, “I will be doing an a safety class just to teach people who are interested in how to get all the ice and we will be doing sessions very similar to what we’re doing today.”
“For KBJR6, I’m meteorologist Adam Lorch… stay safe on the ice.” I say as I jump into the cold water.

A good rule of thumb is if the ice is clear it’s most likely going to hold if its thick enough. But cloudy, or white ice is brittle, and could break.

Meteorologist Adam Lorch

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