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Big thaw brings warnings for area ponds and lakes

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 5:12 PM EST
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FAIRLEE, Vt. (WCAX) - With warmer weather ahead, first responders are reminding the public about the rapidly changing ice conditions on area lakes and ponds.

“This time of the year, you are riding in mud most of the time,” said James Morrow of Bradford. We bumped into the 73-year-old as he headed out onto Lake Fairlee with his fat tire mountain bike. “I walked around out there, the ice is going to be thick enough out there. It’s along these edges that may be a little suspicious.”

The lake is usually packed with fishing shanties, but many have already been brought ashore. “It’s the melting areas that I have to be really concerned about,” Morrow said.

It’s good to be prepared because unexpected accidents can happen, as Morrow found out crossing the lake. It appeared the Bradford man was uninjured in the fall.

“Something to do in these two crazy years,” said Kris Brown of Strafford, who was out with his wife ice fishing on Lake Morey Tuesday. The ice on this lake is still more than a foot thick, but many here have also moved their shanties.

“I’m pretty cautious. I don’t go out if it is even close. But I figure if people are driving out here, I figure I’m safe to be out here walking,” Brown said.

First responders say the spring thaw happens quickly. Parts of the Connecticut River are already completely free of ice and flowing fast. “Near outlets to lakes, underneath bridges, where you typically don’t have a deep freeze -- you need to be real careful around those areas. I feel like any river is not a good idea to to be out hanging around on,” said Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Christopoulos.

Officials say regardless of what the weather brings this week, all of the ice houses will have to be removed from the lakes and ponds by the last Sunday in March.

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