AUGUSTA, Maine -- Despite colder temperatures, ice conditions still vary throughout the state, and are even dangerous in some areas. Rain and snow over the past ten days have combined to make ice conditions unpredictable, and currently the Maine Warden Service is recommending that people check the thickness of any ice before venturing out for any activity on frozen water.
"Ice conditions are unpredictable this time of year, and before you head out on the ice, you need to check in several places to make sure that it is safe," said Colonel Tom Santaguida, Chief of the Maine Warden Service.
Ice conditions vary even on the same pond or lake, depending on the location of streams and underground springs which can wear away ice. Snow can also weigh ice down, creating a slushy quagmire. Rains raise water levels within a lake, making shoreline ice unsafe. Snow can also conceal thin ice - just because there is snow on the ice does not mean that it is safe. Larger, deeper lakes also take longer to freeze due to the large amount of water that must cool down, and wind conditions which prevent lakes from freezing.
Follow these tips for ice safety this season:
* Never guess the thickness of the ice - Check it! Check the ice in several different places using an auger or some other means to make a test hole and determine the thickness. Make several, beginning at the shore, and continuing as you go out.
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