- Associated Press - Sunday, January 4, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Department is warning snowmobilers, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts to beware of thin ice.

Conservation officers are concerned that more seasonable temperatures forecast for this week will lead to more people skimming over waterways covered with ice and snow. It may look safe - but it’s not.

Officers say it will take many more days and nights of sustained cold to build consistently strong ice across New Hampshire.

In the North Country, for example, they have observed large expanses of open water on several waterways. Much of the open water cannot be seen from shore or areas in which trails access lakes.

They said of particular concern are Lake Francis and First Connecticut Lake in Pittsburg, neither of which is completely frozen over. Both are located in the heart of available snowmobiling. As of Dec. 28, officers estimated that 40 percent of First Connecticut Lake remains open water.

The U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover offers a “rule of thumb” on ice thickness: There should be a minimum of 6 inches of hard ice before the ice is safe for foot travel and 8 to 10 inches of hard ice for snow machines and All-Terrain Vehicles to travel safely.

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