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DNR warns of ice ridges and other dangers out on the lakes

DNR warns to be careful if your planning on being out on the ice
DNR warns to be careful if your planning on being out on the ice 01:54

MINNEAPOLIS — This year's ice fishing season is coming to a close, but if you're planning on hitting the ice one last time, multiple agencies are sharing the same message: be careful

"This year I planned on hitting it hard. Winter decided that they didn't want to do that," said Dakota Meddaugh of Columbia Heights.

The unusually warm winter hasn't stopped him from catching what he can, when he can. Friday, he tested his luck on Lake Minnetonka.

The quality of the ice is also a concern for local and state agencies. Over the last week, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have issued reminders about pressure ridges on lakes across the state.

"Where that ridge is, whether it's a big ridge, or it's a crack, the ice isn't stable there," said Nicole Biagi, a Minnesota DNR ice specialist. "And so you can break through the ice. You can also just find open water along a pressure ridge."

Pressure ridges form when there's little snow and a mix of cold and warm days causing the ice to contract and expand, filling with lake water in the process.

"One piece of ice will usually buckle over the other. Sometimes they'll go up, sometimes they'll go down, but it creates a really weak spot and the ice. And sometimes that pressure edge can build up and get tall," said Biagi.

The DNR recommends talking with local experts before driving on a body of water, using extreme caution at night and never crossing over a pressure ridge.

"If you do need to get back safely to shore and there's a pressure into blocking your way try to go along the pressure edge until you find a safe spot to cross but crossing over pressure ridges is very dangerous," said Biagi.

The DNR adds that recent windy days have caused more cracks and open water to appear on the lakes. 

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