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MINNEAPOLIS - This weekend's deep freeze and the recent snow is prompting a thin ice warning.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is reminding people that cold weather does not mean safe water conditions. They urge caution on all frozen and partially frozen ponds, lakes, and rivers.

Officials say there are areas of thin ice on bodies of water throughout Hennepin County. On Lake Minnetonka and other lakes, there are still areas of open water. Even smaller lakes and ponds that typically freeze early in winter have areas of unstable ice.

"A significant snowfall followed by extreme cold has created a potentially hazardous set of circumstances for lakes and ponds," said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, " Some people may believe that the ice is safe when it is not and we urge everyone to take safety precautions while enjoying winter recreation."

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office shared the following safety measures:

  • Parents and guardians are warned to keep children away from thin ice.
  • Refrain from driving on ice whenever possible. Do not wear a flotation device when traveling across the ice in an enclosed vehicle. Avoid driving on the ice when it is dark.
  • Don't drive a vehicle on channels of Lake Minnetonka. A vehicle, such as a car, truck, or SUV, should not be driven through a channel. The weak ice in a channel is due to water constantly running from one bay to another bay. The friction of the running water causes the ice to weaken.