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Officials warn about thin ice

Becky Vargo • Dec 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Cool weather and plenty of fresh snow last week brought out a lot of winter enthusiasts, including ice fishermen who may have gone out on the ice too soon, according to a local businessman.

Three people went through the ice on Bruce’s Bayou and one on Millhouse Bayou during the past weekend, said John Stillson, owner of Lakeview Marine and Tackle in Grand Haven.

“It’s really too soon to put a lot of people on the ice,” he said. “Stay off the ice — it’s not safe.”

Stillson said he heard reports of the ice being 2 inches thick in some areas, but warmer weather this week isn’t going to help that trend continue.

“Just wait a little bit,” Stillson said. “I know the ice is going to tighten back up after this weekend.”

The U.S. Coast Guard has also extended warnings about ice on the lakes and waterways in the Great Lakes region.

“Rising temperatures and scattered showers over the next several days can pose significant risks to ice-related activities as the ice weakens,” the Coast Guard said in a press release Monday. “It can appear to be more stable than it is.”

People venturing out onto the ice should always wear the proper safety equipment and have a means of communication with them at all times. You should also inform family and friends of your plans before going out and let them know when you expect to be back.

To aid in remembering what to take into consideration during the ice season, the following acronym can be helpful, Coast Guard officials say:

I – Information: Check the weather and ice conditions, know where you are going, and know how to call for help.

C- Clothing: Wear the proper anti-exposure clothes with multiple layers. If possible, wear a dry suit to prevent hypothermia, which can occur within minutes after falling through the ice.

E – Equipment: Have the proper equipment before venturing out onto ice, such as a marine band radio, a personal locator beacon, life jackets and screwdrivers or ice picks, which can help you pull yourself out of the water if you fall through the ice.

Grand Haven forecast

The National Weather Service forecast for the Grand Haven area shows low temperatures between 25 and 31 over the next few days. The highs are predicted to be near 45 today and in the lower 30s to lower 40s range through Saturday.

The high on Sunday, Christmas Eve, is forecast to be about 25. The high on Christmas Day is expected to be 23.

Chances of rain and snow are also on the agenda throughout the week.

 

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