The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is urging people to use caution on all bodies of water due to thinning ice and open water.
Freezing and thawing and warmer temperatures all have the potential to create hazardous conditions on the ice.
On Lake Minnetonka and other lakes, there is thin ice and areas of open water. At this time, the channels of Lake Minnetonka are extremely dangerous and should be avoided.
During the 2012-2013 winter season, 25 vehicles that fell through the ice in Hennepin County. One incident took place on Cedar Lake in Minneapolis and the other 24 incidents took place on Lake Minnetonka. There were three deaths in two separate incidents.
The Sheriff's Office urges you to remember these safety precautions:
>> Anyone who plans to venture onto the ice on foot or with recreational vehicles, such as snowmobiles and ATVs, should wear a life jacket. Even with precautions, be aware that being on the ice this time of year involves an increased level of risk.
>> Four inches of ice is the recommended minimum thickness for walking and small group activities on ice. No ice should ever be considered safe. Again, channels of Lake Minnetonka should be avoided.
>> Remember to keep your dog on a leash this time of year. The Sheriff's Office has responded to incidents involving pet owners who put themselves in jeopardy chasing after a dog that wandered onto the ice.
For more information about ice safety, the Minnesota DNR has information online at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice
For media information, contact PIO Lisa Kiava 612-919-5918 or firstname.lastname@example.org