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US Coast Guard warns public of thin ice across Great Lakes region

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Posted at 10:57 AM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 13:25:34-05

The U.S. Coast Guard is warning the public to be cautious of thin and weak ice across the Great Lakes region.

"The combination of open water, unstable ice formation and areas of relatively weak ice may create hazardous conditions for recreational users," the US Coast Guard said Monday. "The combination of open water, unstable ice formation and areas of relatively weak ice may create hazardous conditions for recreational users."

Officials add that people should "stay away from shipping lanes and other areas with vessel traffic" during this warning because ice is even more unpredictable in those areas.

And people who plan to be near bodies of water in the Great Lakes region should keep in mind this tip by remembering the acronym I.C.E., which stands for Information, Cloth and Equipment.

The U.S. Coast Guard breaks down how remembering the acronym I.C.E. will help keep people stay safe during recreational ice activities:

"Get the right Information on weather and ice conditions before going out. Ice thickness is rarely consistent. Water currents, particularly around narrow spots, bridges, inlets and outlets are always suspect for weak ice. Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker areas for these may represent areas of unstable ice. Know where you are going, how to get there and how to call for help; share this information with friends and family prior to departing. This information can be valuable to first responders in an emergency.

Ensure you wear the proper Clothing to prevent hypothermia and choose bright colors to be easily seen by others. It is not uncommon for people to become disoriented while on the ice, especially in low visibility or deteriorating weather conditions.

Never venture onto the ice without proper safety Equipment. Carry a whistle or noise-making device to alert people of distress and a waterproof VHF-FM radio or Personal Locator Beacon to contact local emergency responders. Please remember that cellular phone signals can be limited and unreliable in remote areas. Carry two ice awls or screwdrivers. These instruments can aid in pulling yourself out of the water onto solid ice in an emergency and are more effective than hands alone."