SIOUX FALLS S.D. (KELO) — The fluctuating weather from warm to cold is creating irregularities in the ice formations on rivers and lakes.
“You’re going to have those thinner spots and those are not going to be as strong as what we were experiencing a month ago,” Nick Harrington, Communications manager for game parks said.
When the ice is thin, it begins to deteriorate and creates what are called slush pockets and heaves.
“A heave is something that can form upwards and has a peak, or it can also form downwards and have an indent in the ice,” Austin Norton, Wildlife Conservation Officer said.
Both conditions are extremely hazardous when walking over thin ice.
“If you see a heave or a slush pocket obviously you want to try and avoid those areas just because the ice is weaker in those areas,” Norton said.
Even more dangerous is when you’re driving.
“It’s when people are driving four-wheelers, ATV’s, snowbears and vehicles over them that the ice is just not strong enough to hold at that location,” Norton said.
The recent snowfall adds an additional problem.
“When we get that snow, that almost acts as that blanket that covers up that hazards,” Harrington said.
Officials remind everyone to be alert and aware of their surroundings, keep ice picks on you, let someone know where you are and mark the path you took. You can read more safety information here.
“You want to exit the way you came, because we know the way you came out is likely going to be the safest way because we know it has gotten you this far,” Harrington said.
If you are stranded or stuck on the ice, alert authorities and do not move from your location.