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9th District Great Lakes Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard

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News Release

January 24, 2013

Ninth Coast Guard District

Contact: U.S. Coast Guard Great Lakes


Office: (216) 902-6020

Mobile: (216) 310-2608

Coast Guard unit warns of unsafe ice conditions on Lake Erie and Ontario

Variable weather during winter months cause dangerous ice conditions

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Coast Guard Sector Buffalo is issuing a warning that the unusually variations in temperatures observed this winter have greatly increased the possibility of weakened ice.

"Ice conditions are still dubious," said Petty Officer 1st Class Tom D’Amore, executive petty officer at Coast Guard Station Buffalo.  "With temperatures only recently dropping from the high 50s to the single digits the ice that is forming on the Great Lakes is still very thin in spots."

The thin ice, cold temperatures, and strong winds make for extremely hazardous ice conditions throughout Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and inland. The Coast Guard cautions those against ice fishing and transiting on the ice due to the unpredictability of ice breaking apart.

For further information about the formation of ice click here.

Proper precautions should always be taken before heading out on the water or the ice. When venturing out, a person should think I.C.E.:

Intelligence - know the weather and ice conditions, know where you are going, and know how to call for help. Never go out alone.

Clothing - have the proper clothing to prevent hypothermia. Wear a waterproof exposure suit and a life preserver.

Equipment - have the proper equipment. Carry two ice picks or screwdrivers, in case you fall in. Use these items to dig into the ice and pull yourself out. They are more effective than bare hands! Carry a whistle or noise maker to alert people that you are in distress. Carry a cellular phone or marine band radio in a waterproof container so that you can call for help if you come across trouble.

For more information or requests for interviews or ice rescue demonstrations please, contact Lt. Thomas Pequignot, Coast Guard Sector Buffalo public affairs officer, at 716-843-9317. 

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