NEAR WABASHA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Despite a mild winter, ice continues to plague the northern Mississippi River around Lake Pepin.
It's that ice that's preventing the waterway from opening for barge traffic.
"The barges within the tow boat industry will bust through 15-17 inches of ice," said Al VanGuilder, a surveyor with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
It's Al Vanguilder and Bill Chenlmowski's job.
"Today we're out measuring the ice out on Lake Pepin for the tow boat industry, checking to see if the boats can make it through Lake Pepin," Vanguilder said.
However, even the thickest ice sits right on the edge of open water.
"North of there it was all broken up and not safe for us to drive our airboat," Vanguilder said.
If you walk along the shore of Lake Pepin the ever-changing temperatures are evident.
"We've had cold, warm and rain. You can see where the shore ice is starting to melt," said Deputy Scott Powers with the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office.
The mild winter is taking a toll on those looking to get out. Two men were out on an ATV early Tuesday morning when they plunged through the ice of Lake Pepin. Deputy Powers was there.
"They thought they were further out on the ice, they crossed a point which had open water... an operator who was pulled out by his passenger who was riding on a trailer," Powers said.
Every year thin ice signs are posted along Lake Pepin and the access points are marked with warnings.
"Since 2008 we've had 14 vehicles go through the ice mainly on Lake Pepin here," Powers said.
There's no sure answer ice is ever safe, but there are some things you can do. Make sure to check the ice before venturing out on it and always put safety first.
"Wear a life vest on ATV's...in enclosed vehicles make sure the windows are down, and seat belts are off," Powers said.
And keep in mind water can be unpredictable.
"If you're surprised by something you shouldn't be because that's just the nature of the Mississippi," Vanguilder said.
Main Station: 507-252-4747
Connect With Us
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and KXLT. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Lynn Jacobs at (507) 280-5104. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.