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Additional care, caution needed when on ice

With the winter solstice officially behind us, the days have now started to slowly get longer (even though it doesn’t feel like it, at all). But as most Yoopers already know, the grip of winter will still be around for months to come. With that under consideration, we must remember to use extreme caution in certain situations.

In December, a truck broke through the ice at Forsyth Township’s Big Shag Lake.

Forsyth Township police Sgt. Jesse Cadwell said vehicles going through the ice is somewhat common in the Upper Peninsula and the Midwest, and he reminded those going out on the ice to use caution.

“With any ice, always check to make sure it’s safe to walk on, let alone drive on,” he said.

Check ice reports and recent weather reports to determine if ice is safe for travel, he added.

“The quick changes can also mean unfortunate death or serious harm or injury to others,” Cadwell said.

In addition, the Upper Peninsula Power Co. is asking the public to exercise caution when on or near waterways adjacent to its hydroelectric facilities in the coming weeks due to upcoming drawdowns.

UPPCO will be reducing water levels at several of its hydroelectric reservoirs over the next two months in anticipation of melting snow and precipitation during the spring, officials said.

“Water level changes can lead to unsafe ice conditions due to formation of an air gap beneath the ice,” UPPCO Vice President of Business Development and Communications Brett French said in a Monday press release. “Increased water flowing through the rivers may also cause the ice to deteriorate, creating unsafe ice conditions to develop. We are asking everyone to exercise caution around the hydroelectric reservoirs and nearby rivers, lakes and streams during drawdown periods.”

Winter is a time that calls for additional precautions when venturing outdoors for recreational activities. Even if the weather seems promising, we all know it can change very quickly here in the U.P., so remember to always be prepared before heading out.

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