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Lakes, Ponds Not Safe, Even After Polar Vortex

Wheaton Park District cautions ice skaters to not trust the ice on local waters.

Despite the recent blast of Arctic cold, the following warming trend and recent rain have left lakes and ponds unsafe for ice skating, Wheaton Park District officials say. | Credit: Patch file
Despite the recent blast of Arctic cold, the following warming trend and recent rain have left lakes and ponds unsafe for ice skating, Wheaton Park District officials say. | Credit: Patch file

If you have a hankering to get out the ice skates and head to the nearest lake or pond, Wheaton and Glen Ellyn parks officials have a word of advice — don’t, the Chicago Tribune reports.


Despite the dangerously low temperatures that held the region in an icy grip a week ago, the ensuing warm temperatures and rain have left the ice unsafe for skating, park district officials in both communities say, according to the Tribune.


The Arctic blast had led officials to believe the safe, 8 inches of ice thickness would be achieved, allowing ice skating on lakes and ponds in the area. But it’s been a week of much warmer temperatures — in fact, it’s been 50 degrees or more warmer than the -16 to -20 degrees the region experienced just a week ago. Wind chills early last week made it feel as cold as -45 degrees on some days.


As a result, the ice on lakes and ponds is not safe. Larry Bower, a Wheaton Park District veteran, told the Tribune that the district recently lost one of the machines it uses to clear snow from ice for skaters. The machine fell through the ice at Rathje Park, demonstrating the ice was not strong enough, despite daily checks of the thickness.


The Park District posts ice rink conditions on its website, and on Monday, outdoor skating surfaces were closed.



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