North Platte, Neb.- The arctic blast Nebraska has been dealing with for the past week has its share of safety issues for the public when it comes to being exposed to sub-zero temperatures. Nebraska Public Power District wants the public to be aware of ice conditions particularly at Lake Maloney, as well as at Sutherland Reservoir, Lake Ogallala and the Sutherland Canal system.
“At Lake Maloney, the area around the forebay (the area leading up to the hydro) and diversion are all subject to changes in ice conditions and thickness due to flowing water and other conditions ” said NPPD’s Water and Renewable Energy Manager Chuck Troia.
NPPD urges individuals going onto the ice at Lake Maloney, or other NPPD-owned water resources to skate, ice fish, or snowmobile to be aware of the potential for changing ice conditions. NPPD posts signs around Lake Maloney and Sutherland Reservoir warning of the potential for thin ice.
“The ice can be thick and safe one day but not the next day,” Troia points out. 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 care and 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 alone.
- Observe the ice. Look for any cracks, breaks, weak spots or abnormal surfaces and to identify the color(s) of the ice. You cannot rely on eyesight alone. This is just an initial look to help you to decide if it is even worth proceeding to the next step of testing the ice
- If in doubt, do not venture out onto the ice.