Authorities: Stay off the ice as it gets warmer

Any icy pier on Lake Michigan in South Haven in March 2015.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities are asking people to stay off the ice as temperatures start to rise.

An icy Lake Michigan at Grand Haven on March 9, 2015.
(Lake Michigan at Grand Haven on March 9, 2015.)

The Grand Haven Department of Public Safety said a lot of people ventured out onto the ice over the weekend and on Monday. They, along with other agencies along the lakeshore, are worried they may have to come rescue you.

The melting snow and rising temperatures make the ice even more dangerous to walk on, South Haven Area Emergency Services cautioned in a Monday press release. Authorities said ice that has moving water under it, like the Black River and Lake Michigan, can change quickly, making it easy to fall through.

This weekend, emergency responders rescued a man who fell on ice over Lake Michigan north of the South Haven lighthouse. Authorities said the rescue put multiple lives at risk because it took many rescuers to carry the man off of the ice.

Further north, the Muskegon Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Coast Guard say that ice cavern formations on Lake Michigan in the Muskegon area are unsafe. Authorities said in a Monday release that though the ice and packed snow may look safe, rapidly-changing conditions have caused dangerous honeycombing. People are advised not to go out onto the lake or into the cavern formations “for the remainder of the season.”

“It is extremely dangerous at this time and will become even more so in the coming days,” the release said.

A "beach closed" sign at Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon due to shifting, dangerous ice. (March 10, 2015)
(A “beach closed” sign at Pere Marquette Beach.)

Tuesday, the entrance to Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon was blocked off with caution tape and  “beach closed sign” — an effort from authorities to keep people off the ice.

Last month, Storm Team 8 meteorologist Ellen Bacca reported on the dangers of ice-covered Lake Michigan and gave tips on what to do if you see someone fall in the water.

Ice fishing shanties in most West Michigan counties were supposed to be off the ice by March 1, with Newaygo, Mason and Oceana and other northern Lower Peninsula counties being the exception. In those counties, the shanties should be off the ice by March 15.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use a shanty, but it does mean you have to take it out and bring it back on the same day.


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