Mass. (WWLP) – While freshly frozen ponds and rivers may seem like a perfect time for ice-skating and snowmobiling, the ice may be too thin.

22News spoke with the West Springfield Fire Department, who issued a thin ice warning. Lt. Tony Spear told us that although we have been experiencing frigid temperatures recently, the ice is too dangerous to be out on right now. Spear says that if that ice layer is less than 4 inches thick, do not walk on it.

Lt. Tony Spear of the West Springfield Fire Department said, “Once we get into January, we are experiencing cold and sustained temperatures, that’s the big thing too. It’s one thing to be cold for three days, and after this snap, we are getting warmer temperatures. Whatever was gained the last few days will probably be lost over the weekend.”

Ice also needs to be 5 inches thick for snowmobiles and ATVs. Ice thickness is also affected by the size of the body of water, water currents, and even snow cover. You can use an ice chisel or cordless drill to make a hole in the ice and determine thickness and condition.

And the formation of ice will likely begin to reverse in the coming days with the expected increase in temperatures. Make sure your pet is on a leash if you’re near a frozen body of water.
If your pet does fall through the ice, get help immediately but do not try to rescue them on your own. White ice or snow ice is only about half as strong as new clear ice and can be very treacherous.

Piper pond in West Springfield is a popular spot for skating, but the recs department did a post on facebook, reminding residents to stay away until the ice gets thicker. So, before you head out on the ice, be sure to tell someone your plans, and make sure to carry a phone in case of an emergency.