White ice, weaker than clear ice

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Miami Valley, Ohio (WDTN) – No ice is safe ice according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

There is a thickness guideline for the strength of new, clear solid ice.

Four inches of ice is the minimum needed to walk on ice. Five inches is needed for snowmobiles, and 8-12 inches is need for cars.

Thickness can be tested using an ice chisel, ice auger, or a cordless 1/4 inch drill with a long bit.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, snow can weaken the ice.

Dayton has seen 14.8 inches of snow this month. The average temperature was below freezing the first 21 days allowing ice to easily form.

When snow is added to the ice it adds impurities. Snow crystals help trap air according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Snow will work as an insulator reducing the transfer of heat.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the thickness guidelines should be doubled for white ice, or “snow ice.”

At least 8 inches of white ice is needed to support a human.

Snow is an insulator and limits ice growth. According to the Minnesota DNR, it slows down the freezing process and the extra weight can limit the support of the ice sheet.

The ice in the Miami Valley is beginning to thaw out and will be very dangerous. The thickness guidelines are set for new clear ice.

Temperatures rose above freezing on Feb. 21, and highs are expected to remain in the 40s and 50s the rest of this week.

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