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DNR warns at least 4 inches of ice needed before going out on lakes

DNR issues reminders about thin ice ahead of winter season
DNR issues reminders about thin ice ahead of winter season 02:12

ST. PAUL, Minn. — As temperatures drop, ice conditions are constantly changing across lakes and ponds in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. 

On Friday morning, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources addressed the thin ice concerns at Como Lake in St. Paul. 

Some people were out fishing on the lake, which had about 3 to 3 1/2 inches of ice in most spots. The DNR recommends there be at least 4 inches of ice when going out on a lake.

Clear ice is the safest on a lake, and 5 to 7 inches of ice is needed for snowmobiles and small ATVs. The DNR added that 7 to 8 inches is needed for side-by-sides, and 9 to 10 inches is necessary for a small vehicle or SUV to go out on the ice.

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"Ice conditions can change from day to day, especially in windy conditions," said DNR Concervation Officer Matt Paavola. "We recommend checking with local experts if it's a lake or area you haven't ventured out on before."

Paavola recommended wearing a life jacket and carrying tools like ice picks when venturing out onto a frozen lake.

The DNR says the lack of snow in the early winter season helps ice form, because snow acts as an insulator that can keep ice from forming. Ice conditions are never completely safe, and can vary quite a bit.

The DNR has a list of ice thickness guidelines, which you can see here.

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