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Photo provided Coon Rapids angler Tim McCauley Jr. and his five-year-old son, Gavin, fell into open water on Pelican Lake near Ashby Dec. 31 when they encountered a pressure ridge. The ATV they were riding went through the ice and had to be removed by a Brandon towing company. The incident occurred after dark. The McCauleys made it to shore safely.

Warm temps this week create unreliable ice

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Forecasted temperatures in the 40s across southern Minnesota this week add yet another reason to be careful if heading out on the ice, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

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"Ice thickness guidelines become unreliable once the temp gets above 32 degrees," according to Lt. Cory Palmer, enforcement supervisor for the DNR. "Snowmobiles, ATVs and other vehicles should stay off the ice until temps drop below 32 degrees for at least 24 hours."

Even if the ice seems thick enough, temperature and other factors such as currents, wind, water chemistry and wildlife can impact the relative safeness of ice.

According to Palmer, last week in Kandiyohi County alone, three ATVs went through the ice. He stresses that there is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice.

Palmer suggests contacting a local bait shop or resort for ice reports on a specific lake and frequently checking ice thickness with an ice auger, ice chisel or even a cordless drill with a long wood auger bit.

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