US Coast Guard issues warning about dangerous ice conditions as weather warms in Michigan, Ohio

Warmer temperatures, rain expected


DETROIT – With warmer weather and rain in Michigan and Ohio's forecasts, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a warning about potentially dangerous ice conditions.

Last week, Coast Guard Sector Detroit's Command Center rescued 10 people and had one death on Lake Erie after an increase in temperatures. 

RELATED: Michigan DNR offers ice safety tips as weather conditions change

The Coast Guard warns that venturing out onto the ice is extremely dangerous during increases in temperatures. 

"The temperature was the major contributing factor in all of the ice rescue cases we had last week," said Cmdr. Rob Berry, search and rescue mission coordinator. "Higher air temperatures brought unstable ice conditions that caused people and ATVs to fall through the ice, stranded others on ice floes and created heavy fog that disoriented ice fishermen who couldn't find their way back to shore."

Tips for ice sport enthusiasts from the Coast Guard:

  • Check the forecast and understand local ice conditions before going out.
  • Tell family or friends exactly where you're going and when you'll be back.
  • Dress for the water temperature and wear a life jacket in case you fall in.
  • Choose bright, reflective clothing to aid rescuers in finding you.
  • Bring distress signals such as flares and whistles, as well as a compass, GPS or personal locator beacon.
  • Take a marine VHF radio or cellphone with extra batteries.
  • Bring ice picks or screw drivers to pull yourself out of the water and onto the ice in a worst case scenario.

"We want to see these warnings taken seriously," Berry said. "If you are going out on the ice, preparation is paramount. If you aren't thinking about safety for yourself, think about it for your loved ones."

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