JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa - Ice on Eastern Iowa lakes and ponds is in "pretty good shape" after a chilly start to the week, according to Joe Wilkinson of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Ice at Lake Macbride in Johnson County is currently between five and six inches thick. Three inches is generally the minimum amount recommended before walking on ice, Wilkinson said.
"It's brand new ice," he said. "It's dark and clear."
Iowa rivers are another story. While many are frozen, the thickness of the ice varies because of the currents moving below. Wilkinson said he doesn't recommend anyone use the river, unless they're very experienced and know the area. "I'd say if you do it, make sure to test the ice (with test holes)," he said. "It's just not the best idea."
The ongoing drought has played a part in lowering many rivers and reducing the level of flow in some areas. That has caused additional freezing in some places while changing some currents.
Last month the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warned people to stay off Coralville Lake this winter, as drought conditions have caused the lake to be lower than normal. A hard freeze could cause a gap between the water and the ice, creating a dangerous situation, officials said.