Editorial: Be aware of the melt effect

While temperatures are expected to creep back down again in the days ahead, this week’s mid-week warm weather triggered some melting across the region.

The melting was welcomed, but it also creates a hazard everyone should be reminded of – icicle development, and the chance of falling icicles. In parts of the country icicle crashes have become so prevalent that Associated Press ran a story Wednesday warning readers of the dangers from falling icicles.

In New York City recently a pedestrian was struck by a falling icicle that slashed his face, necessitating 80 stitches.

The best advice this time of year as temperatures fluctuate from night to day is be aware of your surroundings and the places you walk. Be cautious not only of ice on sidewalks and walkways, but when walking next to buildings. Look up to see if there are icicles overhead and if so, don’t walk underneath them.

Another sign of the changing temperatures is Department of Natural Resources regulations governing ice shanties. While across our region fishermen have until March 15 to remove shanties from frozen lakes, elsewhere in the Lower Peninsula shanties have to be removed by March 1.

DNR officials also warn fishermen to be extremely careful on ice this time of year as the melting begins. Ice covered by snow should always be presumed unsafe and if there is slush on the ice, by all means stay off it.

While a warm spell can be nice, if the ice melts in the day but re-freezes at night, it creates “spongy” or honeycombed ice that is extremely unsafe, DNR officials said.

The initial transition from season to season has begun. Just be mindful of all that entails while enjoying the outdoors.