Despite frigid weather, don’t be fooled by ponds that seem frozen

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – You might have noticed some icy ponds or lakes that look frozen. First responders have an urgent message for everyone considering trying to walk out on a frozen surface: don’t do it.

Single-digit temperature earlier this week and winds of 40 miles an hour formed some icy structures along the shoreline of Creve Coeur Lake.

“We had that real hard freeze for a couple days, so we get an ice cap on the top,” Assistant Chief Steve Rinehart, Maryland Heights Fire Protection District, said. “Then we get the warming. Today, we’re roughly 40 degrees warmer than where we were 36 hours ago. So, then we begin the melting process on that ice cap on top of the lake. Then tonight, we’ll go back to freezing and then tomorrow, it will start to warm up again. It gives you a false sense of security of how solid the ice is.”

In the middle of our interview, Rinehart stopped to chastise someone who took a reckless and potentially deadly walk onto Creve Coeur Lake.

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“The advice I give you about walking out on bodies of water that appears frozen is don’t go,” he said. “The ice is not consistent enough in St. Louis to give you an area to skate or walk on.”

In February 2022, Maryland Heights firefighters were conducting ice rescue training when two people were spotted walking on the frozen ice and fell through. Luckily,the people were rescued in moments.

What often appears to be a good, solid covering of snow and ice is deceptive. The snow you’re seeing is hiding imperfections in the ice.

“When you go out there and think you see the weak areas, you could be standing on a weak area and not even know it until it’s too late,” Rinehart said. “So, stay off the ice.”

Rinehart said that if you go through the ice, the hypothermic effect will hit your entire body rapidly. And if you’re not spotted immediately, it could be a fatal mistake.

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