Sacto 9-1-1
January 22, 2013
Truckee officials warn against skating on area lakes, ponds

Truckee police and fire officials are warning people of the dangers of ice skating on Sierra lakes or ponds.

They cited particular concern about people seen skating on Donner Lake. Despite extremely cold conditions during the past month, warmer temperatures recently have made the ice unstable.

Unlike the eastern United States, the Truckee area typically doesn't experience the consistently cold temperatures to sustain ice on area lakes and ponds due to their size and water currents, according to a city of Truckee news release. Current conditions on Donner Lake are similar to conditions five years ago when a skater fell through the ice and drowned. The ice was thought to be strong and safe, but it proved to be thin and weak, officials said.

They noted that no law or ordinance prohibits ice skating on a body of water, but they urged people to consider the risk.

The strength of the ice can't be determined solely by its appearance, age, thickness or temperature. Ice strength is based on a combination of these factors, as well as other variables such as water depth, size of the water body, water chemistry, currents, local climate and the load per square inch of ice.

Anyone who decides to skate on area lakes or ponds is advised to wear a life jacket, and to bring a rope and a companion.

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