EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A four-day thaw ended with record high temperatures on Thursday in the upper 50s, which has some rescue crews concerned.
Lake ice is never 100 percent safe, and can be increasingly unstable when weather conditions endure big swings in temperature.
A day in the 50s with a warm breeze is typically the most devastating to ice stability. Just one day near 60 with a breeze, like West Michigan experienced Thursday, is enough to eliminate at least 2 inches of ice thickness from a shelf.
Rainwater often only erodes about one-sixteenth of an inch of ice, and on sunny days the ice melts mostly from the bottom up.
As of Wednesday, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department had measured several inland lakes as having 8 to 10 inches of ice thickness. They were quick to add that ice thickness and quality can vary significantly even from foot-to-foot.
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