It is the winter solstice, the shortest day and the longest night. Even as the days grow longer from here on out, the cold season has just officially begun. Because of the unseasonably warm weather we had well into fall, the lake ice in Minnesota which has normally frozen solid... really hasn't yet. Especially when it comes to lakes in the southern half of the state.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends that there be at least five inches of ice to support snowmobiles or ATVs and more than double that before it will support a car or truck onto a lake. In smaller lakes, there is less of a danger and ice has likely been able to form thick enough to support some of these activities. But the ice is dangerously thin in many places.
Just ask Dan Fruechte of Swanville, as his manufactured fish house has fallen partially through the ice on Long Lake. Equipped with a flat-screen TV and stereo, the house was worth about $15,000 and has maintained so much water damage it is totaled.
Not saying everyone has snazzy ice houses worth tens of thousands of dollars, but what would have happened had he and his son been inside? It just goes to show, just because you see other cars or houses on the lake doesn't mean the ice is thick enough. Be safe out there!