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Caution urged before heading out on ice-covered Saskatchewan water bodies

Officials are urging people to exercise caution before heading out on frozen Saskatchewan waterbodies due to the continuing warm weather. File / Global News

The unseasonably mild winter so far has the Saskatchewan government urging people to check ice thickness before heading out on water bodies.

Officials with the Water Security Agency said Friday that there were several serious ice-related incidents during the holidays.

Read more: The extreme weather conditions in Saskatchewan in 2020

They said ice thickness must be checked before attempting any activities on ice, including walking, snowmobiling or driving, especially with the continuing warm weather.

Global News meteorologist Peter Quinlan says mild conditions are expected to last for a least another week — and maybe longer.

Daytime highs will be in the minus single digits for the next few days and then could reach the freezing mark, or even higher, by the middle of next week.

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Ice should be at least 10 centimetres (four inches) thick for walking, 20 centimetres (eight inches) for a snowmobile or ATV, 30 centimetres (12 inches) for cars or light trucks, and more than 30 centimetres (12 inches) to support heavy trucks.

Ice thickness guideline. Saskatchewan Government / Supplied

Officials said along with thickness, people should only travel on clear, hard ice.

They said ice does not freeze uniformly and thickness can vary considerably from one area to another.

The thickness should also be checked and evaluated every day, even if it was safe the previous day.

Ice that looks slushy, has thawed and then frozen again, is near moving water, is layered due to sudden temperature changes, or has structures such as pressure ridges should be avoided.

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Ice safety tips – Dec 18, 2020

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