Be alert for changes in ice conditions
North Platte, Neb. – Winter weather has touched most, if not all, of the state. With the winter weather comes the opportunity to enjoy activities, like skating or ice fishing. Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) wants the public to be aware of how ice conditions can change, particularly at Lake Maloney, Sutherland Reservoir, Lake Ogallala and the Sutherland Canal System, before going out on the ice.
“All of these bodies of water along NPPD’s systems have moving water,” says NPPD’s Water and Renewable Energy Manager Kirk Evert. “Flowing water can cause ice conditions and thickness to change, and people should be aware of this if they plan to ice fish, skate or snowmobile on NPPD-owned water resources.”
Evert notes at Lake Maloney in particular, the area around the forebay (the area leading up to the hydro) and diversion are where ice conditions are most vulnerable to change because of water flows. Ice conditions can be safe one day and unsafe the next, and NPPD posts signs around Lake Maloney and Sutherland Reservoir
warning of potential for thin ice. Experts indicate that for one individual to be safe on ice, it needs to be at least four inches thick.
Some general safety tips regarding ice covered bodies of water include:
•Recognize that ice will never be completely safe. Conditions and unknown factors can make seemingly
safe ice suddenly dangerous. Take precautions to avoid mishaps and to put rescue plans into
immediate action should something go wrong.
•Create an emergency safety plan. Tell people where you are going and do not go on the ice alone.
•Recognize that determining the safety of ice is dependent on a combination of factors, not on one factor
•Observe the ice. Look for cracks, breaks, weak spots or abnormal surfaces and to identify the color(s)
of the ice. Do not rely on eyesight alone. This is just an initial look to help you decide if it is worth
proceeding to the next step of testing the ice
•If in doubt, do not venture onto the ice.