UPPCO issues thin ice warning

Ishpeming – Upper Peninsula Power Co. is warning everyone to avoid all winter recreational activities on ice near hydroelectric facilities because of thin ice. Ice that forms near hydroelectric dams and adjacent reservoirs is often thin, unsafe and inconsistent. This is because of continually changing water flows beneath the ice that forms. This is part of normal hydro dam operations.

“With recent cold snaps, folks are lulled into thinking ice should be thick and safe to be on,” according to Virgil Schlorke, manager of regional generation for UPPCO. “That may be the case on standing bodies of water, but not the case near hydro-electric facilities. Water below the ice continues to flow at a rapid pace, not allowing the ice to thicken.

“We have ropes, barriers and signs warning of thin ice. However, we have evidence showing some ice fisherman have been inside the safety zone,” according to Schlorke.

This warning is for areas above and below the dams, as well as at adjacent reservoirs, he said.

UPPCO owns and operates seven hydroelectric dams and four storage reservoirs. They are located in Upper Michigan along the Dead River, Escanaba, Ontonagon and Sturgeon rivers.

– The Upper Peninsula Power Co.