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Unseasonable weather means thicker than average ice on many Fairbanks lakes

People skating on Tanana Lake in Fairbanks. The lake ice in many places is thicker than average...
People skating on Tanana Lake in Fairbanks. The lake ice in many places is thicker than average due to unseasonably cold temperatures.(John Dougherty/KTVF)
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 5:01 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - After a unseasonably mild winter, the cold weather in Fairbanks has decided to stick around for a while longer. According to Karen Endres, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service, the record snow and cold temperatures for April means that ice thickness in many places is above average.

She says that this will allow people to continue skating, ice fishing, and snowmachining on lakes around town.

However, while many lakes have thicker ice than normal, Endres says that the rivers are much more unpredictable. She told us that some river ice is thicker than average, but in other places it is thinner than average. Due to the expected cold weather across much of interior Alaska, they are pushing back the breakup forecast in many places by a few days.

While the ice is still safe on most lakes, Endres explained that people can check the ice levels from the Weather Service, and gave a tip for knowing when it is safe to be on the ice: “The minute you begin to see water ponding on top the ice, or cracks in the ice, it’s time to get off of that ice.”

She also said that for ice fishers, once the state removes ice houses from a lake, it is probably time for everyone else to as well.

Cold weather is supposed to stay over the interior through the rest of this week with possible record cold temperatures on Friday.

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