Ice warnings issued in Douglas, Todd counties
Two Osakis residents are OK after the ATV they were riding went through the ice on Lake Osakis last week.
On December 24, at 10:32 p.m., the Todd County Sheriff's Office received a call that an ATV had gone through the ice on the lake's far north end, near Lindberg Point on Lake Osakis.
When deputies arrived, they found a Honda Foreman ATV in a large pool of water made by a depression in the ice near an ice reef. The ATV was mostly submerged and tipped on its side, according to law enforcement.
The driver of the ATV, Mike Peterson of Osakis, was later found safe. He told authorities that he was leaving his fish house and didn't see the open water before sliding into it and rolling his ATV. He and his passenger, Michelle Remmers of Osakis, were not injured and the ATV was to be recovered the next day.
Todd County Sheriff Pete Mikkelson said, "Ice conditions on all Todd County lakes are very unpredictable. Before venturing onto the ice, all anglers should check with other fishermen, resorts and local bait shops for current reports on ice conditions and problem areas."
It's advice that should be heeded across west-central Minnesota.
In Douglas County on Tuesday, a fish house was partially submerged on the east side of Lake Louise and a group of people worked to successfully pry the fish house up out of the water.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are advising people to use extreme caution on the ice as several fish shelters have fallen through the ice due to unusually warm temperatures and water on top of the ice.
It was also reported that there are several open areas of water on area lakes that are difficult to see. Ice heaves have also formed and authorities report that it is dangerous to cross the heaves - they're usually indicators of open water and weakened ice.
Anyone with a fishing shelter on an area lake is advised to check it regularly as ice conditions can change rapidly.
According to the DNR, 12 inches or more of old, partially thawed ice may not support the same weight as 4 inches of clear, newly formed ice.
Overall, the weather from late-fall into early winter has been fairly mild with above-average temperatures. Last Saturday, the daytime high hit 49 degrees, and this weekend is shaping up to be another fair-weather weekend with highs forecast to reach into the 40s on Saturday.
The warmer temperatures coupled with warm winds have shifted and changed some of the ice.
"This type of weather is not favorable for making new ice," Mikkelson said. "Mid and full size vehicles should stay off the ice. ATVs and snowmobiles are also at risk of going through the ice."
New Year's Day forecast brings normal temperatures for this time of year with a stretch of daytime highs in the 20s.
SOME COLD FACTS ABOUT ICE
New ice is usually stronger than old ice. Four inches of clear, newly-formed ice may support one person on foot, while a foot or more of old, partially-thawed ice may not.
Ice seldom freezes uniformly. It may be a foot thick in one location and only an inch or two just a few feet away.
Ice formed over flowing water and currents is often dangerous. This is especially true near streams, bridges and culverts. Also, the ice on outside river bends is usually weaker due to the undermining effects of the faster currents.
Schools of fish or flocks of waterfowl can also adversely affect the relative safety of ice. The movement of fish can bring warm water up from the bottom of the lake. In the past, this has opened holes in the ice, causing snowmobiles and cars to break through.
Source: MN DNR
Follow Amy Chaffins on Twitter at @TheOsakisReview.