In the Midwest and Northeast, many skaters, ice fisherman, and hockey players have had their fun spoiled because of the unusually mild winter which is causing these areas to have thin ice. In the Northeastern areas where the ice is normally ten inches thick at this time of the winter season, officials have been issuing advisories to people to stay off the ice because of unsafe conditions.
In Minnesota, they hit a record of sixty degrees for the first time during the first week in January. In Buffalo New York, the public ice hockey tournament for over one thousand amateur players may have to be cancelled for the first time. It has been played for the past five years on Lake Erie, but at this time there has been no ice recorded. The tournament is held the first part of February so there may still be time for Lake Erie to ice over thick enough.
These situations have been caused by an unusually mild December and first part of January, which is when it is normally cold enough to freeze most of the ponds and lakes in those areas. According to meteorologists, in these regions where the weather is normally bitter cold, the temperatures during December were the warmest on record for the past five years. Massachusetts had a record twelve days when their December temperatures were ten degrees above normal.
To be safe on the ice, whether it is playing hockey, ice skating, ice fishing, or even walking on ice, it needs to be at least six inches of hard ice just to support a person but if you want to get out on the ice with a vehicle you are going to need eight to ten inches of hard ice.