Sask. water security agency says warm fall has led to unsafe ice conditions

The Water Security Agency says the warm fall has led to thin ice and unsafe crossing conditions on Saskatchewan lakes and rivers.

Agency says ice still not thick enough for most activities

Saskatchewan's Water Security Agency says crossing conditions on the province's lakes and rivers are unsafe, even with the recent snow and colder temperatures. (Glenn Reid/CBC)

Saskatchewan's Water Security Agency is urging "extreme caution" when on or crossing ice.

Due to the warm fall, there is a high risk of thin ice, it said in a news release.

Crossing conditions on Saskatchewan water bodies are unsafe, even with the recent snow and colder temperatures, it said, adding the ice is still not thick enough for most activities.

It also said thin ice can occur any time throughout the winter months, depending on river flows and temperatures.

The public is being urged to check ice thickness before crossing the province's water bodies. (Saskatchewan government)

It has previously noted water does not freeze at a uniform thickness — and ice strength can vary considerably from one area to another.

The public is urged to check the ice thickness before travelling on it.

As a guideline, you need at least 10 cm of ice to walk on; 20 cm to drive a snowmobile or ATV on; 30 cm to drive a car or light truck on; and more than 30 cm to support a heavy truck.

The agency said people should avoid ice that looks slushy, has thawed, but has frozen again, is near moving,water; is layered, caused by sudden temperature changes, or has structures on it, such as pressure ridges.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has said most weather stations in the province experienced average temperatures from September through November that were among their top 20 warmest ever recorded for that time period.

For Yorkton and La Ronge, ECCC data indicated the past three months had average temperatures that were their fourth-warmest on record compared to the same timeframe in previous years.

With files from Fiona Odlum


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