Late season ice warning for snowmobilers - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Late season ice warning for snowmobilers

WISCONSIN (WAOW) -- Snowmobilers looking to squeeze in another ride or two as warmer temperatures move in should be alert for rapidly changing conditions, threatening the safety of drivers and passengers.

"The current ice conditions are very questionable," Conservation Warden and snowmobile administrator Gary Eddy said.  "This is due to fluctuating temperatures all winter, coupled with our current, spring warm-up. 

Eddy says late-season ice is more dangerous than early winter ice because it can deteriorate quicker.  "All snowmobilers headed to the ice must be very cautious and take the necessary precautions."

Add the recent snowfall and conditions can worsen as snowmobilers won't readily see the poor ice conditions.  "Rapidly warming temperatures will melt the snow cover and cause water to run into ice-fishing holes and other openings," Eddy said. "That dissolves the ice and makes it even weaker."

For those not ready to call it a season, Eddy offers these safety tips:

-- Check the ice conditions with local sources such as law enforcement, snowmobile clubs or bait shops.

-- Restrict travel on the ice to daytime hours.  If you do fall through, your chances of rescue and survival are much greater during the day.

-- Always ride with a buddy.  It's best to have someone with you at all times.

-- Wear a personal flotation device or have one easily accessible.

-- Carry rescue equipment such as ice picks, life vests, rope and a cell phone.  These are vital to rescue yourself or others.

-- Stay sober and do not drink. Alcohol can impair judgment, slow reaction time and increase risk taking behavior.

Online Reporter:  Cami Mountain

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