'Ice tsunami' hits New York prompting evacuations

Walls of ice reaching 30ft high were spotted along the Niagara River Parkway 

Helen Coffey@LenniCoffey
Tuesday 26 February 2019 10:29
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Ice tsunami appears on Lake Erie near Canadian border

As parts of the UK hit record high temperatures for February, an “ice tsunami” has been ravaging the US.

The phenomenon, officially called an ice shove or ice surge, occurs when ocean currents, strong winds or temperature differences push ice blocks from the water onto the shore – in this case winds of 119kph.

Towering 30ft walls of ice were spotted on the shores of Lake Erie and banks of the Niagara River in New York State near the Canadian border on Monday 25 February.

Video footage shows undulating chunks of ice surging over the lake’s edge, eerily propelled by an invisible force.

Police warned people to drive carefully, while a voluntary evacuation was encouraged for residents of Hoover Beach, a neighbourhood on the eastern edge of Lake Erie.

“We’ve had storms in the past but nothing like this,” Hoover Beach local Dave Schultz told WGRZ, adding that in 50 years he’s never seen the ice pushed up against the walls and spilling onto residents’ patios like it is at the moment.

Local emergency services crews went door to door to check on all residents affected by the evacuation.

Buffalo’s National Weather Service issued a wind advisory warning on Monday night, warning of strong gusts that could bring down trees and power lines and result in numerous power outages.

Locals shared footage and pictures of the ice tsunami on social media, with David Piano tweeting: ”This ice tsunami is one of the craziest things I’ve ever witnessed. Starting to bulldoze trees and street lamps.”

Peter Thanasse wrote: “It’s pretty bad here in Niagara/FtErie area. My roof is bare in spots now (already called insurance) and wind along Lake Erie shoreline has created an ice tsunami”.

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