Despite Social Media Posting Temptations, Don't Try Walking On The Lake

CBS 2's Jim Williams reports while Lake Michigan may look frozen, as temperatures rise, visible ice is more fragile than it appears.

Video Transcript

IRIKA SARGENT: With our bitterly cold temperatures in recent weeks comes a temptation. The belief that it's safe enough to take a stroll on the frozen lake.

BRAD EDWARDS: CBS2's Jim Williams joins us live. Jim, lots of people are doing that. It's a pretty picture but, boy, it's treacherous.

JIM WILLIAMS: Brad and Irika, those perilous walks on the lake are catching the attention of police officers and firefighters, now urging those people to stay off the lake, and they add this. Looks are deceiving.

You might think it goes without saying that walking on a frozen Lake Michigan is dangerous. But the Chicago Police Department's Marine Unit had reason to tweet this warning in all caps. "Do not do this!"

Embedded in the tweet, video of people on the lake, yards from the shore.

- Standing on water.

JIM WILLIAMS: CPD adding, "Your life is worth more than an Instagram, Twitter post, or TikTok video."

DAVE BENJAMIN: It's, unfortunately, a disaster waiting to happen.

JIM WILLIAMS: Water safety expert Dave Benjamin says the frozen water may appear solid, but parts are actually fragile, especially as the temperature creeps up. And if you fall through, a crucial countdown to hypothermia begins.

DAVE BENJAMIN: You have on minute to control your breathing, 10 minutes of meaningful movement, less than an hour until hypothermia may set in fully and kill you.

JIM WILLIAMS: Even those who have no intention of walking on the ice should be careful close to the shore, as it's hard to tell where the beach ends and the lake begins.

DAVE BENJAMIN: And so even though you may think you're near the pedestrian path, you could be 20 yards out over the open water.

JIM WILLIAMS: So, avoid this.

- Standing on water.

DAVE BENJAMIN: It's best just to admire from a distance.

JIM WILLIAMS: Admire from a distance. In addition to the social media posts, police officers and firefighters are using loudspeakers to order people off the lake.

We're live, Jim Williams, CBS2 News. Brad?

BRAD EDWARDS: All right, Jim. Thank you, my friend.