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People living on the East Coast over Lake Erie in New York can’t believe what they’re going through. Over the weekend, their houses were ravaged by gale-force winds and 15-foot waves from the lake which encased the structures in 1-to-3 inch thick ice.
“It looks fake, it looks unreal,” local resident Ed Mis toldCNN. “It’s dark on the inside of my house. It can be a little eerie, a little frightening.”
The man said that there was no ice in his yard on Thursday but by Friday morning, his home and others’ homes were completely covered.
Elyse Smith, a meteorologist at WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, NY, told Bored Panda that it was a combination of lake water coming ashore, gale-force winds, and below-freezing temperatures that caused these extreme ice homes. “On Wednesday, February 26th, a blizzard warning and lakeshore flood warning were issued for the eastern shoreline of Lake Erie in New York state, including the Hoover Beach area. These warnings came ahead of a winter storm that would impact Western New York on February 27th and 28th.”
“This storm brought gale-force winds and heavy snow which continued on and off for two days,” Smith said. “Specifically for the lakeshore, the big problem was that Lake Erie was not frozen over. This allowed waves to crash onshore (the waves were 10-to-14 feet high). Some waves even reached 18 feet. So, these ice homes developed as lake water continuously crashed on shore, carried by winds gusting up to 55 mph with temperatures well below freezing, allowing for ice to develop and amass along the shoreline.”
“One important note is that the homes at Hoover Beach typically take on a little ice each year because of the topography of that part of the shoreline,” Smith added. “However, this was the most extreme the ice has ever been in that area and it was primarily because of the duration of the storm conditions. The ice kept amassing as waves crashed onshore and the strong winds carried excess water further inland.”
After footage of the frozen neighborhood went viral, it has even become a tourist attraction. However, police officials are asking visitors to stay away for their own safety.
Local police issued a statement on Sunday informing that sightseers could also face trespassing charges if they choose to disobey. “Not only is the ice extremely unsafe and unstable, [but the majority is also] in areas which are private property,” they said.
In the meantime, residents are worried the ice could damage their homes. “We’re worried about the integrity of structure failure when it starts to melt because of the weight on the roof,” Mis said.
Sean Crotty, Hamburg’s emergency manager, toldToday that a gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds, and when you look at all the ice that’s on these buildings, structural collapse is definitely a possibility.
“The community has been seeing more than their fair share of situations between wind damage and the Halloween storm and an ice shove at the end of February,” Crotty said. “In the last year, they’ve endured probably a half dozen really heavy-duty storms that have caused damage to their homes, seawalls and private property.”