Have you ever heard of ice tsunamis?
It’s a kind of ice flow triggered by strong winds that can eat up your house… A nature nightmare…
Winds forced massive walls of ice onto the shores of Lake Dauphin, dwarfing homes in rural Manitoba, Canada on Friday. A dozen homes were destroyed and many others left uninhabitable after winds piled ice from Dauphin Lake onto Ochre Beach Friday in an unusually large ice flow in Ochre River, 188 miles outside Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada) which had only recently begun to recover from severe floods in 2011.
Some of the leveled homes were brand new, having just been rebuilt in the wake of severe 2011 flooding. Homeowners had only minutes to flee as the mounting ice entered their doors and windows. Hundreds of volunteers and some Canadian officials showed up Saturday to help dig Ochre Beach out of the massive ice floe and to find shelter for those left homeless by this rare event.
High winds cause same ice floe phenomenon 600 miles south in Minnesota over the weekend at a lake resort on Milles Lacs. Although not as destructive as the Canadian phenomena, it still had some residents calling it an ‘ice Tsunami’ and marveling at its unbelievable speed. The same high wind weather system is thought to have caused both incidents.
Finally, approximately 40 properties on Alberta Beach were damaged after strong winds forced large ice flows off the lake and into several homes, boat houses, and garages as shown in the picture below. Watch video here.
All of this is pretty scary. But how are ice tsunamis created? Massive ice floes are formed when strong winds blow, driving piles of ice onto the shore which inundate homes and giving residents only minutes to flee. This common phenomenon occurs on thawing lakes but is rarely witnessed with such intensity and size.