Ice has formed irregularly on the Kuskokwim River in front of Bethel, and Bethel Search and Rescue warns that the ice is not safe for motorized vehicles at this time. The group advises anybody walking on the ice to manaq, ice fish, or set-net to stay away from snow drifts and keep an ice pick in front of your feet.
Bethel Search and Rescue member Mark Leary says that a small BSAR team has checked the river ice from the Bethel hospital landing to the lower end of the Bethel island. As of Thursday, bare ice without snow cover measured five to six inches. Wherever a snowdrift appeared however, even a small one, little or no ice had formed underneath. Ice picks fell through the snow into open water hidden beneath. BSAR reports that countless snowdrifts lie scattered across the river, and the organization is asking that people take proper precautions.
During freeze-up, travelers are often advised to wear life jackets or float coats when crossing the river and sloughs in case they break through the ice. Rain is forecasted to fall over the coming weekend, which could degrade the already thin cover of ice that has begun to form.