January’s unseasonably warmer weather means ice on area lakes and ponds is not generally safe to cross.
Haverhill Fire Chief William F. Laliberty tells WHAV his department is fielding many telephone calls asking if the ice is safe.
“The ice really is not safe because it hasn’t had a good chance to thicken up,” he warns.
Officials have witnessed people on the ice and advised them to leave. He cites a particularly dangerous situation that was observed.
“I think in some instance of it there was open water in the middle of the pond and people were skating. I’m like that is a bad recipe for skating on ice that has open water with it,” he recalls.
Laliberty explains ice does not form evenly. This weekend’s colder weather could help strengthen surfaces, but it is no guarantee. The chief offered some tips on how to evaluate ice on the city’s waterways.
“Solid, clear ice, four inches thick or greater is safe ice. Cloudy ice, gray ice, so forth and so on, cracked ice is not considered safe ice. Anybody that wants to venture out on ice-covered ponds should do their due diligence to check the ice to make sure that it’s safe, not cracked, it’s strong enough to go on,” he advises.
In any event, Laliberty asks resident to remain extremely cautious.