The Bloomingtonian

Ice thaws at Griffy Lake; DNR says, “No Ice is Safe Ice”

02212021 – Bloomington, Indiana, USA: Griffy Lake was covered with snow, ice, and people walking on the lake even as the temperature rose to the low 40s. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says, “Remember that no ice is safe ice.” (Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
02212021 – Bloomington, Indiana, USA: Griffy Lake was covered with snow, ice, and people walking on the lake even as the temperature rose to the low 40s. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says, “Remember that no ice is safe ice.” (Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

More than a dozen people were walking on Griffy Lake Sunday afternoon even as the temperature rose to at least 45 degrees according to the weather forecast. The Bloomingtonian wasn’t able to reach any public officials Sunday regarding the safety of the ice. However, the Indiana DNR put out the following information in January, “Remember that no ice is safe ice.”

In January 2015 two boys feel fell through three inches of ice at a quarry near Spencer, Indiana and neither of them survived.

Here is the entire text of the DNR’s advice about ice covered bodies of water:

For immediate release: Jan. 7, 2021

Always assume you are on “thin ice”

With the recent temperature drops across the state, Indiana Conservation Officers are advising Hoosiers across the state of the potential hazards of being on frozen lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams.

It’s also important to keep a watchful eye for other people who may venture out on neighborhood retention ponds, lakes and other waterways and find themselves in trouble.

Every winter, thousands of Hoosiers safely enjoy fishing, skating, hiking, or just sliding around on frozen ponds and lakes. And every year, people drown after falling through ice.

Just like driving differently on snow versus on clear roads, it’s important to adjust your approach to safely have fun on ice.

The best rule of thumb is to put safety first.  When you are thinking about getting on the ice, believe it is thin ice unless proven otherwise.

Here are a few tips to remember when considering standing on or walking on a frozen lake or pond: 

  • Remember that no ice is safe ice.
  • If you don’t know the thickness of the ice, don’t go on it.
  • Before going on the ice, leave a note of your whereabouts with a friend or family member.
  • Don’t test the thickness of ice while alone.
  • When testing the thickness of ice, use an ice auger. At least 4 inches of ice is recommended for ice fishing; at least 5 inches is recommended for snowmobiling.
  • Wear a life jacket or flotation coat.
  • Carry ice hooks and rope gear.

Wearing a life jacket is especially important when on the ice. If you fall through, a life jacket will keep your head above the water until help arrives.

Remember that the coatings of snow that Indiana receives can also make for treacherous ice conditions. The snow can insulate the ice, causing it to freeze at a slower rate. When snow and rain freeze into ice, it is never as strong as solid, clear ice.

Some other tips:

  • If you see a pet or other animal in distress on the ice, do not go on the ice after it. Doing so can often end in tragedy. Instead, contact your local emergency response personnel, who are equipped to make a rescue.
  • Remember that some bodies of water will appear to be frozen solid but can have thin ice in several potentially unexpected areas.
  • Flowing water, such as rivers and streams, should be avoided when covered by a layer of ice.
  • Water that is surrounded by sand may freeze with inconsistencies in the thickness of the ice.
  • Underground springs, wind, waterfowl and other animals can also keep areas of ice thin.

Enjoy the winter weather but make safety a priority.

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02212021 – Bloomington, Indiana, USA: Griffy Lake was covered with snow, ice, and people walking on the lake even as the temperature rose to the low 40s. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says, “Remember that no ice is safe ice.” (Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

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