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Staying safe on northern ice


Chris Dawson, Reporting
February 1, 2012 — Inconsistent weather has resulted in fragile ice in the north bay area.


Officials are blaming Mother Nature for the unusual conditions
Officials are blaming Mother Nature for the unusual conditions

Like may who venture out onto Lake Nipissing, Conor Cantwell is exercising extreme caution when heading out onto the ice in the North Bay area.

"You get some good ice and then a lot of slush, so it makes for iffy conditions," he says.

Cantwell only has to look 500 metres south of where he's standing to see a partially submerged vehicle that went through the ice on Lake Nipissing - one of nine of the cars and snow machines have taken the plunge on this inconsistent ice.

Area police blame Mother Nature for these unusual conditions.

"What happened was, there was a layer of ice, but then we got a lot of snow, and then a few melts in between ... this up and down with the weather has caused incredibly slushy conditions ... on big waters [and] small ponds ... pretty much every body of water unusable during the month of January," says Sgt. Tim Sheppard of the Ontario Provincial Police.

It's not only cars and snow machines that have gone through the brittle ice -- a snow-shoer recently fell through an area pond. Police say those heading out onto these frozen bodies of water should exercise extreme caution.

"Check with the locals [and] check with the season trappers or veteran fishermen that are out there ... they know the lake, but ... just because it's safe in one area and you see a vehicle on it ... fifteen feet from it [the ice] might be 3 or 4 inches, which won't hold anything up."

The Canadian Red Cross says the colour of ice may be an indication of its strength. Clear blue is strongest and grey is considered unsafe.

Get up-to-the minute information on the weather conditions in your area by visiting the alerts section of the website.

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