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DNR urges safety for ice travelers, snowmobilers


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The state DNR says there’s not nearly enough snow to ride a snowmobile safely – and there’s not enough ice cover to support humans or their vehicles.

People have been trying to test Mother Nature, despite temperatures above-freezing for much of the week.

A 26-year-old man drowned in a snowmobile mishap on Tuesday, when he tried skipping across open water on the Flambeau River near Ladysmith. And a few people had to be rescued after falling through whatever ice there’s been.

DNR snowmobile administrator Gary Eddy says it’s important to stay off the trails until local officials announce that they’re open. Otherwise, riders run the risk of causing damage – and perhaps cause landowners to close their properties.

The National Weather Service said only about 5 inches of snow have fallen in La Crosse this season – well below the normal of 14 inches.

In Madison, a public ice skating party scheduled for Friday night at a city park has been postponed. And none of that city’s 12 skating rinks are open yet.

But solid ice might not be too far away, especially in northern Wisconsin.

It’s supposed to get much colder starting on New Year’s Day – and by Tuesday morning, the mercury could get below zero in much of the north.