There is no such thing as 100% safe ice.
Look at local retention ponds during the recent cold spell and you can see what many residents are doing – throwing rocks to see if they will break through the pond’s frozen top layer. Most often, the rocks don’t break through, leaving local ponds now littered with rocks on their icy tops.
Area retention ponds may be frozen, rocks may not break through, but that does not mean they are safe to walk on. Regardless, it seems some local children are testing the frozen ponds.
Two residents reported seeing children playing on fenced, frozen ponds in the past two days. One concerned mother said on Sunday, December 8th, the kids were hurling rocks at a Snoqualmie Community Park pond, trying to break the ice, and then proceeded to slide “in and out of the pond.”
The City of Snoqualmie does not recommended walking on frozen retention ponds. Freezing temperatures have been in place for about a week, but that does not mean the ice is thick enough to support people.
According to a General Ice Thickness Guideline, if ice is two inches or less, people should stay off. Once it reaches four inches in thickness, it is safe for ice fishing or activities on foot. But as a rule, no ice is 100% safe.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also warns that ice does not freeze evenly. It can be three inches in one spot and then one inch nearby. DNR says falling through ice into frigid water can be fatal within a few minutes.
Temperatures are predicted to begin moderating to normal, above-freezing levels today, December 10, 2013. Ice will begin melting, which can make it even more dangerous. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about the dangers of ice and ice safety.