MINNEAPOLIS - Much of Minnesota is in store for record warmth this weekend.
"Right now a large ridge of warm air and high pressure is moving in from the west. This is a very similar pattern we saw in 1981 when we had a six-day streak of 50-degree temperatures," said KARE 11 meteorologist Jeff Edmondson.
That year, Edmondson says, the Twin Cities set record-high temperatures for five consecutive days.
Due to that warming trend the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is urging people to use caution if they plan to drive on any lakes this the holiday weekend. It says ice conditions near lake access points, shorelines and channels are quickly deteriorating. The sheriff's office says several access points on Hennepin County lakes and rivers currently have areas of open water and should not be used.
And if you're thinking of taking the chance... consider all the vehicles that have broken through thin ice in the past couple of weeks, ending up on the bottom of lakes across the metro and greater Minnesota.
"Thankfully we have not had any injuries due to people or vehicles going through the ice this year," said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. "I want to stress the importance of ice safety, driving on the ice right now could be a life-threatening risk."
The Sheriff's Water Patrol is checking ice thickness on area lakes and posting for areas of thin ice daily. If you see a thin ice signs, do not attempt to drive on the ice in that area.
While permanent ice fishing houses aren't due to be pulled off for nearly two more weeks, the unseasonable warmup has outdoor types advising anglers to pull them to the mainland this weekend, while conditions still allow.
Record warmth is also impacting inland ice: Stillwater's spectacular Ice Castles are closing up shop after a highly attended six week run. Crews will demolish them in coming days, as temps the next few days will speed the melting process and create potential hazards.
For more information about ice safety, the Minnesota DNR has some tips here.