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Ice Safety: What you need to know to have fun on our frozen lakes

todayJanuary 17, 2024 2

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Now that Rochester has been experiencing below-freezing temperatures, we are starting to see some bodies of water starting to freeze over. Although it may seem like the ice is safe for all sorts of winter activities, that may not be necessarily true. But what are some ways to check the safety of frozen surfaces?

Before even stepping foot on the ice, it’s important to look at the color of the ice. Clear ice (or dark blue ice) is the strongest because it is formed by the lake water freezing. White or opaque ice indicates weaker ice. This is because snow has frozen on top of the frozen surface, creating another thin ice layer which can lead to air pockets. Gray ice is the weakest because it is melting due to the warming temperatures. It can be hard to remember what color means what. so just remember the saying, “thick and blue tried and true, white and crispy, way too risky.” Checking the color of the ice is a good first step, but it does not guarantee the ice is safe.

The next step would be to check the thickness of the ice. No matter the ice of the ice or the strength of it, you should always check the thickness of the ice. You can check the thickness of the ice with an auger, chisel, or axe. When measuring the thickness, you want to make sure that the ice is AT LEAST 4 inches thick. According to the NYS DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation), ice that is less than 4 inches thick is not safe and you should stay off. If the ice is 4 inches thick, it is safe for ice fishing or other activities on foot. If the ice is 5 inches thick, it is safe for a snowmobile or ATV to be on the ice. If the ice is between 8 and 12 inches thick, it is safe for a car or small pickup truck to be on the ice. If the ice is between 12 and 15 inches thick, it is safe for a medium pickup truck to be on the ice. Although the NYS DEC put out these guidelines, remember that ice is never 100% safe.

​ ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Now that Rochester has been experiencing below-freezing temperatures, we are starting to see some bodies of water starting to freeze over. Although it may seem like the ice is safe for all sorts of winter activities, that may not be necessarily true. But what are some ways to check the safety of frozen surfaces?

Before even stepping foot on the ice, it’s important to look at the color of the ice. Clear ice (or dark blue ice) is the strongest because it is formed by the lake water freezing. White or opaque ice indicates weaker ice. This is because snow has frozen on top of the frozen surface, creating another thin ice layer which can lead to air pockets. Gray ice is the weakest because it is melting due to the warming temperatures. It can be hard to remember what color means what. so just remember the saying, “thick and blue tried and true, white and crispy, way too risky.” Checking the color of the ice is a good first step, but it does not guarantee the ice is safe.

The next step would be to check the thickness of the ice. No matter the ice of the ice or the strength of it, you should always check the thickness of the ice. You can check the thickness of the ice with an auger, chisel, or axe. When measuring the thickness, you want to make sure that the ice is AT LEAST 4 inches thick. According to the NYS DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation), ice that is less than 4 inches thick is not safe and you should stay off. If the ice is 4 inches thick, it is safe for ice fishing or other activities on foot. If the ice is 5 inches thick, it is safe for a snowmobile or ATV to be on the ice. If the ice is between 8 and 12 inches thick, it is safe for a car or small pickup truck to be on the ice. If the ice is between 12 and 15 inches thick, it is safe for a medium pickup truck to be on the ice. Although the NYS DEC put out these guidelines, remember that ice is never 100% safe. Read More Local NewsRochesterFirst  

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todayJanuary 17, 2024 2

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