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Enjoying An Unseasonably Warm January Day

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No matter where you live across our region, just one step outside during the day on Friday; the first thought that probably comes to mind is, “Is it really January?”

“It’s unbelievable for January,” says Marion Davis of Jasper, Minnesota, who was walking her dog with a friend.

“That’s the reason we do these things. We don’t want to be out when it’s zero in a couple of days,” replied her friend, Rex Tollefson of Pipestone.

“Yeah, in a couple of days. Look! There’s waterfalls underneath all that ice. We walked around on the other side and it looks just like Niagra, like a little spa,” Davis says.

“South Dakota beauty,” Tollefson says in response.

Whether you were out enjoying the great outdoors like these two, or waiting in the long lines to get your car washed; everyone was out enjoying the warm weather before temperatures take another nose-dive over the weekend.

Some even took advantage of the beautiful weather by doing a little ice fishing.  

This time, however, thanks to a little thawing of the ice; most found it wise to leave their trucks parked in the parking lot.

“Four vehicles have gone in on Lake Thompson in the last week, or week and a half, and one vehicle up on Lake Albert; so we’re cautioning anglers to be careful where they drive,” says Dave Lucchesi of South Dakota Game Fish and Parks.

He says although most of the ice is thick enough to walk on, there are some spots that may still be too thin to drive on.

“Sometimes, even under conditions you wouldn’t think there would be a lot of melting, you do get areas of thin ice,” says Lucchesi.  

Experts say if you are going to drive on the ice, to avoid the shallower areas because a lot of sunshine will warm the land around the lake thawing ice along shorelines. Those aren't the only dangerous spots, though.

“Other areas that are dangerous are areas with a current. Anywhere you have a current, ice depth is going to be shallower typically,” says Lucchesi.

One thing is for certain. With another cold snap just around the corner, Friday made for a pleasant day to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, no matter where you were, as long as you were safe.

Experts say most lakes, at this point, have about twelve to fourteen inches of ice; which is plenty for those who want to walk or drive on. However, it’s the areas of lakes mentioned earlier that everyone must use caution in.
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