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Ice is thin, so stay off the water: Lifesaving Society Manitoba

Thinning ice on the Assiniboine River on March 7, 2021. Global News

Above average and fluctuating temperatures in the province has Lifesaving Society Manitoba warning residents to stay off frozen bodies of water, as the ice can be deceivingly thin.

“We are getting melting everywhere, and even if it is not immediately obvious on the surface of the water,” Water Smart Coordinator with Lifesaving Society Manitoba Dr. Christopher Love said. “The fact that you have warmer temperatures means the ice can be eroding from the bottom up if there’s any water flow underneath.”

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Pools of water can be seen peaking out from underneath the ice on the Assiniboine River at the Forks, where just a few weeks ago Winnipeggers were still skating on the trail.

But rivers are not the only bodies of water to be cautious around. Lakes in the province also seeing different levels of melting throughout.

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“I’ve heard stories of 30 inches which is like 70 centimeters of ice in some places on Lake Winnipeg,” Love said. “And then there are other places where you are lucky to have maybe four or five centimeters or two inches of ice. Those are vastly different circumstances, but they’re on the same body of water.”

Click to play video: 'Protecting Winnipeg homes from “the melt”' Protecting Winnipeg homes from “the melt”
Protecting Winnipeg homes from “the melt” – Mar 5, 2021

The message to stay off the ice is clear, but if you choose to go, you need to be prepared.

“You need to plan ahead and be prepared to go through the ice and into cold water,” Love said. “Wear something that floats, like a lifejacket over your winter clothes, don’t go out alone, and be prepared to perform a rescue.”

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