Since temperatures have been below freezing for a prolonged period of time, ice and snow has formed on ponds and rivers. Snow formed on the Arkansas River several weeks ago. Even though it may appear to be a solid chunk of snow or ice, that does not mean that it is safe to walk on it.
Small ponds will most likely freeze faster than rivers, but that depends on the characteristics of the pond or river. For example, rocks will give off heat, weaken or melt ice. If there is momentum or circulation in a river, or at the mouth of a lake, then that will also weaken ice formation. Plants, animals, and water can also decrease the depth of the ice.
For a person to walk on the ice, it needs to be about four inches thick or thicker. The more weight that is put on the ice, the thicker it needs to be. For a car or a truck, the ice needs to be more than a foot deep.
Remember, ice is never 100% safe. Unless a pond has been cleared safe by authorities, it is best to stay safe on the land.
–Meteorologist Taylor Cox