The thing about an ice palace is that it always looks way cooler on the outside than it is on the inside.
It’s not everyday something like this happens, and that’s good news for the residents of Hamburg, New York. While having a home encased in ice might seem “kinda neat,” and inspire our childhood imagination to come out and play, adult realization soon kicks in and the true horror of what it entails comes to light.
A powerful storm system that brought blizzard conditions to western New York last week created a winter wonderland on the shores of Lake Erie that resembled something out of the hit Disney movie “Frozen.”
After temperatures dipped below freezing on Wednesday, days of persistent strong winds and heavy waves blew the water from Lake Erie ashore, encasing several homes in Hamburg, New York in ice.
Ed Mis has lived in his home in Hamburg, New York, for the past eight years, and while the neighborhood has seen ice coatings before, he said this is the first time it’s been this bad.
“It looks fake, it looks unreal,” Mis told CNN. “It’s dark on the inside of my house. It can be a little eerie, a little frightening.”
His home on South Shore Drive in the Hoover Beach neighborhood of Hamburg, about 9 miles south of Buffalo, is covered in several feet of ice and his backyard has about 12 feet of ice, Mis told CNN by phone. Mis said that there was no ice in his yard or home on Thursday but by Friday morning his home and others were completely covered.
“I actually had to go out a secondary door and then chisel my way back into the house by breaking the ice,” said Mis.
What a lot of people don’t consider when they think of this situation, is the amount of weight the ice can add to a home or structure. If a home isn’t built to handle additional increased weight, the consequences can be dire.
One resident, Lise Kreuder said, “My garage floor is started to show cracks, and last night we took in a small amount of water.”
“We’re worried about the integrity, of structure failure when it starts to melt, because of the weight on the roof,” Mis said.
All of this was caused by 48 hours of heavy gale-force winds and something the National Weather Service refers to as “the lake effect.”
The “lake effect” phenomenon can happen when cold air moves over a lake’s warmer water and heavy snow falls on the shore. When you add extreme winds for an extended period of time, you end up with this strange and beautiful weather phenomenon of freezing homes under a blanket of ice.
“When you are down in the low to mid-20s, all of that spray that comes up and hits the buildings is going to freeze and make it a giant icicle,” winter weather expert Tom Niziol told the Weather Channel.
Not something you see everyday.