Season One of the Deadliest Winters in Years, Likely to Get Worse

December 28, 2017 09:54 PM

It's only December and this is already one of the deadliest Minnesota winters in years.

Five Minnesotans have died this year after falling through the ice, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. That's after just two deaths all of last winter and zero the winter before.


Since 2007, the state has averaged three deaths per full winter season, according to DNR data.

"We are on pace for one of the deadliest winters at least in the last five ice seasons," explained DNR Recreation Safety Outreach Coordinator Lisa Dugan.

RELATED: Cold Snap Good News for NE Minnesota Ice Anglers

Now there's heightened concern. The last week has experienced extreme cold, but the low temps come after a stretch of warmer weather that leaves plenty of open water throughout the state.

Currently, ice on De Montreville Lake is only at 10 inches, according to the DNR.
"Snowmobiling (on) 10 inches is gonna be pretty good, but I wouldn't want to drive a car on 10," Conservation Officer Jake Willis

Willis added, "even if we have 10 inches here, that doesn't mean we don't have six right over there."

For those venturing out on the ice, Dugan says to the consistency of the ice every 150-feet. He also suggest bringing saftey gear, including ice picks, a whistle and life jacket.

"People don't typically think that you need a life jacket," Dugan said. "But underneath that ice is extremely dangerous water and the life jacket is the only thing that's going to keep your head above water."

For more information, you can view the DNR's ice safety page here.


Josh Rosenthal

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