Wednesday Rains Heighten Thin Ice Danger, Prompt Safety Alert

Sheriff urging extreme caution after yesterday's unusual mid-December rain.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is urging local residents to stay off of the ice on area lakes and other bodies of water, including Lake Minnetonka bays, due to thin ice conditions.

Last week, many small lakes in Hennepin County had between four and five inches of ice, the recommended minimum thickness for walking and small group activities. Wednesday’s rain and recent warm weather have diminished the ice and it is too unstable for any activity, according to a safety alert issued Wednesday afternoon.

Facts and tips from the sheriff:

  • Most victims of fatal accidents on the ice in Hennepin County have been children. Parents and guardians should keep children away from thin ice on rivers, ponds, creeks and lakes. An adult should always be near children while they are on the ice.
  • The early part of winter has traditionally been the time of year when children are at risk for ice accidents because of the holiday schedule over the next few weeks. With the upcoming holiday break, children will have more time on their hands to explore outside.  
  • Small bodies of water such as ponds are especially a hazard now since they are the most likely to have a thin layer of ice. A dusting of snow or frost may give thin ice the appearance that it is safe when it is not.
  • Dogs should remain on a leash this time of year. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office has responded to drownings and near-drownings involving pet owners who put themselves in jeopardy chasing after a dog that wandered onto thin ice.

Click here to read more about ice safety.


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