Editorial: Don’t take ice conditions for granted

The unpredictable weather for the winter of 2012-13 continues, and with it the adverse effects for those who love the outdoors in the winter.

The current stretch of extreme cold is forecasted to be followed by temperatures into the 30s and approaching 40 degrees on Tuesday. With the constant change in temperature comes concerns about ice conditions for those who venture on to area lakes for ice fishing, snowmobiling and other winter activities.

“The best formula for ice is cold nights and calm water,” Nick Schwartz, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Gaylord, told The News earlier this week. “If you get a few inches of snow on it, while it is still being formed it can affect its thickness and stability because the snow acts as an insulator. Once the ice gets to a certain point of thickness the amount of snow doesn’t matter as much. But when it is still in the process of being formed it makes a big difference in how stable it is.”

Fortunately for those who enjoy being on the ice, the area didn’t receive a large amount snow during the cold weather so ice thickness and quality should be good. However, we would remind everyone that preparation and diligence is needed to stay safe while on the ice.

Even with the recent weather conditions, it is always a good idea to check the ice thickness and strength. Never venture onto ice that is unsafe. And always make sure someone knows your plans, where you will be and how long you plan on being there.

“My philosophy is if you even think for one second that the ice may not be safe don’t go on it,” Bruce Honeycutt from the Alpena Township Fire Department said in that same story.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Stay safe as you enjoy winter activities on the ice.