The Swift Current Creek may look frozen, but skating along the creek bank isn't quite possible just yet.
Ice takes a lot longer than folks think it would to form up. Especially on a moving current. Whether it's a creek, river or lake, it's important to be aware of how thick the ice is before setting foot, track, or tire on it.
Patrick Boyle, spokesperson for the Water Security Agency, broadcasts caution when attempting those first steps taken on the glacial surfaces across the prairies.
"In a lot of areas, it hasn't yet seen that thickness where it would be safe," said Boyle. "We're really getting that message out to the general public that ice does not freeze at a uniform thickness, and its strength vary considerably depending on one area to the next."
A thin body like the Swift Current Creek will freeze sooner than the reservoir, but it will still have varying degrees of thickness. If you can see running water, it's best to avoid the edge of the ice where it's a fair bet it will be thinner.
A general rule of thumb is that four inches of ice can support somebody walking, eight inches can support a skidoo, and a minimum of 12 inches is required to support a heavy truck.
To test the ice, an ice auger can of course be used. If there is broken ice along a ridge or structure, you can see the thickness of individual pieces piled there, but remember that the entire body of water will not have uniform ice thickness.
"The [Swift Current Creek] may be frozen, but maybe the reservoir isn't. It changes depending on the area," reiterated Boyle. "Even if you were in the area the day before, you definitely still want to check to make sure the proper ice thickness is there. It's just the nature of how water moves and ice. It's very unpredictable in that way."