Ice Tsunami Videos From Lake Erie Will Make You Rethink Extreme Winter Weather

by Caroline Burke
Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

For anyone who thinks they've seen it all, weather-wise, these ice tsunami videos from Lake Erie are flat out remarkable, if not a little bit scary. The first video of the tsunami, which is also known as an "ice surge," was released by the Niagara Parks Police Service to Twitter on Feb. 24, as seen below. The video shows a virtual wall of ice slowly bubbling over the side of the lake and onto the road. The ice tsunami eventually caused several parts of a parkway to shut down.

According to SFGate, the ice tsunami took place on the eastern side of Lake Erie, and was the direct result of incredibly strong winds, which were reported to be up to 75 miles per hour at some points. In fact, conditions were so threatening over the weekend that the town of Hamburg, New York, issued a voluntary evacuation notice. In a Facebook post published by the town's official account on Sunday, a statement read,

There is a voluntary evacuation of Hoover Beach at this time. Residents in Hoover Beach can expect the Woodlawn FD to come door to door accounting for residents. For the general public, we are asking you to stay out of Hoover Beach

To The Weather Network, meteorologist Matt Grinter explained how an ice tsunami happens — and it's actually less complicated than you might think.

Grinter said to the network,

An ice tsunami is a surge of ice on an ocean or a large body of water that moves on shore. As the ice thaws, strong ocean currents or water currents, combined with strong wind currents that last for several hours or days, create enough momentum for the ice to build up and push on shore. The first slabs or sheets move on shore, [and] create a traffic jam, with ice piling on top and behind. With the buildup of ice, and the power behind it, it has the potential to damage anything in its path.

Grinter continued, "These events happen every year, but the severity varies, from a small buildup on shore, to an ice shove that damages homes and property."

According to Fox News, ice surges of 25 to 30 feet were photographed along the shore line after the weekend, with some surges approaching people's homes. The network further reports that the strong winds over the weekend didn't just cause ice surges: they also took down trees and power lines as well.

To WGRZ, one Hoover Beach resident described the experience of witnessing such profoundly intense weather. He said, "We've had storms in the past but nothing like this. We've never had the ice pushed up against the walls and right up onto our patios... it's in my patio, the neighbor's patio, and the patio after that."

He added, "[I] had my mother take off, she went to a friend's house because she's nervous. My father stayed at the house and [he's] just making sure everything's ok."

No fatalities or injuries have been reported yet from the ice tsunamis.