DNR warns of ice conditions with recent warm weather

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is urging people to be extremely cautious on and around ice after recent warm weather.

Ice conditions have deteriorated due to the warm weather, the DNR said, and some lakes already have large areas of open water. The department added that it has also seen reports of vehicles breaking through ice.

Ice thickness varies widely across the state, and people are urged to stay off the ice in some areas south of the Twin Cities already.

"Take extra safety precautions around the ice right now," said Lisa Dugan, recreation safety outreach coordinator for the DNR Enforcement Division. "Just because a particular spot was safe yesterday – or even an hour ago – doesn’t mean it is now."

So far, three people have died from ice-related incidents this season, the DNR said.

The most effective way to stay safe is to wear a life jacket, according to the department, but wearing ice picks and using a chisel to check ice thickness frequently is also recommended for those venturing onto the ice at this time of year.