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Police warn of drastic ice level changes on Lake Simcoe

The thickness of the ice on Lake Simcoe can vary based on currents below the surface and temperatures above, police warn

Members of the York Regional Police Marine Unit are continuing to remind residents to stay safe while on Lake Simcoe after warm weather and high winds have continued to make ice conditions unpredictable.

These photos represent how drastically the ice conditions can change in a short period of time. The first photo, taken on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, shows how high winds and warm weather caused large sections of open water to appear on Lake Simcoe. The second photo, taken today (March 1), depicts how the ice has completely melted, despite the colder overnight temperatures.

The thickness of the ice on Lake Simcoe can vary based on currents below the surface and temperatures above. Uneven cracks can quickly form, resulting in hazardous obstacles for anyone on the lake. Check with your local ice hut operators for information on the latest ice conditions.

Each year, members of the Marine Unit respond to calls of people, vehicles and pets that have fallen through the ice. Citizens are reminded to keep pets and children away from all ice surfaces during times when the temperature is rising and the ice is melting.

Remember: No surface of ice or body of water is ever completely safe. It is crucial that citizens take individual responsibility in evaluating the dangers of any recreational activity. If you make educated choices regarding safety, accidents can be prevented.

Following these safety tips can help keep you safe:

  • Know the condition of the ice before you go out and remember that changes in the weather can rapidly alter conditions on lakes and streams
  • Wear proper clothing and floatation attire
  • Never venture out onto the lake alone
  • Ensure you have a cellphone with a fully charged battery in the event of an emergency
  • Tell someone where you are going, with whom and what time you will return

For more information and safety tips, contact the York Regional Police Marine Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7321.