Ice Sports Still Open Despite Warmer Temperatures

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COLUMBIA- Despite the warmer temperatures, the lakes at Stephens Lake Park and Bethel-Cosmo Park are still open for ice skating.

The sub-zero temperatures last week froze the lakes, and the city decided to open them for ice sports.

In order for the lakes to be open for ice sports the ice must be at least four inches deep. Tammy Miller from Columbia Parks and Recreation said as of Saturday morning the ice is eight inches thick.

"Since the ice is so thick right now, it's going to take a while for it to melt," said Miller.

KOMU 8 visited Stephens Lake Park on Saturday. The park had many people out enjoying the sun and warmer temperatures.

Most people were surprised to learn that the lake was still open for ice skating. Tom Brossard is a Columbia resident who was out enjoying the weather.

"I saw the sign was covered so ice skating is possible, but with all the puddles on the ice I don't think I'd go out there today, " Bossard said.

Columbia Parks and Recreation posted ice skating safety tips on its website. The tips include:

•Skate at your own risk.

•Ice thickness is not consistent. Water currents, particularly around narrow spots, bridges, inlets and outlets, are always suspect for thin ice.

•New ice is usually stronger than old ice. As the ice ages, the bond between the crystals decays, making it weaker, even if melting has not occurred.

•Beware of ice covered with snow. Snow can insulate ice and keep it strong, but can also insulate it to keep it from freezing. Snow can also hide cracks, weaken and open ice.

•Slush is a danger sign, indicating that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and can be weak or deteriorating.

•NEVER skate alone. Always have at least two people present.

•Children should NEVER be allowed to skate on a pond unsupervised.

•Beware of ice around partially submerged objects, such as trees, logs, brush, embankments or dam structures.

•Skating not allowed after dark.

•Do not congregate in one area.

•Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker areas that signify thinner ice.

•Ice fishing is not allowed.

Columbia Parks and Recreation said it will check the ice again tomorrow and post updates and announcements on its Facebook, Twitter, and Parks and Rec home page.