Lake Michigan ice shelves are dangerously unpredictable

Posted at 4:56 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-19 17:39:30-05

WEST MICHIGAN — While venturing out onto the ice seems like a fun activity to do in the winter, you could be putting yourself at serious risk.

On Monday, a 15-year-old girl in Park Township saw Lake Michigan's danger firsthand while she was walking her dog along the shore. The girl fell several feet over one of the ice shelves known to form on Lake Michigan during the winter, and could not get back up without help from first responders.

These ice shelves grow slowly throughout the colder months as crashing waves throw water on top of them and it freezes. The freeze is not uniform, meaning the ice is unstable and can have large drops, leaving you stuck between walls of ice you can't make it out of.

The Coast Guard recommends following the acronym I.C.E if you still plan on going out on the frozen water. I is for information so let people know you are heading out on the ice and preferably don't go alone. C is for communication so have your cell phone on you in case you need to call for help. E is for the environment meaning dress appropriately for the weather and be prepared if you do get stranded.