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New warnings about dangerous ice - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

New warnings about dangerous ice

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Frozen lakes are starting to thaw and safety officials ask that you just stay off them.

The U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies say the ice on waterways in our region is weakening and becoming dangerous to be on.

"People are getting very confident out there on the ice but it is starting to decay as it starts to warm up. Spring is right around the corner so it is warming up out there," said Petty Officer Nicholas McGowan from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Burlington Coast Guard station runs regular drills to be prepared to rescue those who may fall though the ice.

Even with the unusually cold weather, this ice is melting. Safety officials urge people to stay off the ice altogether until next winter.

"No ice is safe ice; it's kind of a play on words. Any time you take a step on that lake, your next step could put you in the lake," said First Assistant Chief Thomas Edwards from the Port Henry Fire Department.

State laws vary in our region. In New Hampshire, ice fishing shanties need to be removed by April 1. In New York, the deadline has passed, March 15, and in Vermont you have until March 23. Experts say the best science available cannot predict when the ice will break, but there are a number of ways to stay safe.

"Biggest thing is communication, having a cellphone with you. Proper clothing like a dry suit," said McGowan.

And also always tell someone where you are going.

"Ice picks. In an event you do go through the ice, you have some method to get onto the ice and pull yourself free. Certainly rope, we advise people carry a chunk of rope with them," said Edwards.

The Coast Guard, fire officials, and many other emergency responders warn the ice will only continue to get weaker slowly but surely. 

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