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2018-01-26-Weather 5-01262018160213

Maddie Kothe and Madeline Faubion, both fifth-year seniors at UW-Madison, walked on Lake Mendota in January, when the ice was safe.

Heading out onto the ice on Madison's lakes could be a risky proposition now that warmer weather has started.

The Dane County Sheriff's Office is advising people to stay off area lakes, since deteriorating ice can be dangerous.

"The recent warmer temperatures have resulted in changes to the stability of the ice, and open water exists in many areas," said spokeswoman Elise Schaffer.

Ice fishing enthusiasts are predominant walkers on the ice of Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa and Wingra, and might head out to fish even if there are warnings against it.

"Marine and trail deputies recommend people stay off the ice, but if you do go out, deputies say you should have appropriate flotation and lifesaving devices, such as ice picks and life preservers," Schaffer said.

Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.