Ice activities on Okanagan lakes discouraged due to warmer weather – Okanagan

With temperatures soaring in the Okanagan, officials warn that ice activity on local lakes may not be safe.

“We’re in a very strange transition right now, coming out of a very good cold spell of -20 to -25 degrees,” said Kelowna Fire Department Captain Sean Woodrich.

“Then what we have is the development of clear ice. When there is no snow on the water or ice, you get this really clean clear ice that is stable and strong. Snow on top of it.”

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According to Wudrich, ice-covered snow and water are signs of dangerous conditions.

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“When you can’t see ice, it’s dangerous. Snow can insulate ice and add weight. With daytime temperatures above freezing, the weight of that snow, and the drop in temperatures, we are currently The slush will cause the water to rise and weigh more on the ice,” Wudrich said.

“So now we’re in a very volatile pattern of being on ice.”

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Ice activities such as lake skating and fishing are not recommended, especially in large bodies of water, due to the depth of the water.

“I don’t think anything in Okanagan Lake—Trepanier, Bear Creek, Mission Creek—is as unsafe as the water we are moving. It should be,” Wudrich said.

A recent incident at Okanagan Lake proved just how dangerous the lake can be at this time, with multiple cows reportedly dying after wandering on the ice.

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“The cold snap has made most of the higher elevation lakes safer, especially Okanagan Lake,” said Ed Henzel of the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue.

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“In the North, cows have problems walking outside and walking[in ice]and I know the same thing can happen to people. Please be safe.”

Udrich says the ice would be more stable if temperatures were kept around -10 degrees Celsius. He says that if you plan to travel on the ice, be as prepared as possible and try not to go it alone.

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“Bring in others and let people know where you are,” Wudrich said.

“The ice thickens along the shore, but as soon as you get close to the ice and see snow on top, it should be a red flag. I understand.”

Ice rescues are typically rare in the Okanagan, but across Canada, there are typically 25 to 30 ice-related deaths per year, according to the Fire Department.

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