PHOTOS: Beachfront houses along Lake Erie are draped in ice after the winter storm
The winter storm that wreaked havoc across much of the U.S. left homes in a waterfront neighborhood in Canada encrusted in a layer of ice, their eaves and windows draped in icicles like a scene out of the Disney movie Frozen.
Last week's winter storm brought a combination of freezing cold, several feet of snow, strong winds and high waves on Lake Erie.
In the lakefront neighborhood of Crystal Beach, the strong gusts of wind blew spray from the lake onto the houses, where the subzero temperatures froze it into place.
Local officials have urged people to stay away from the beach, calling the ice "extremely dangerous." The snow layered on top of the ice could conceal cracks and crevasses in the ice shelf; residents risk falling through into the water below, officials said.
WINTER STORM - The Fort Erie Fire Department warns you to stay off the ice. Even though weather conditions have improved, there are still extremely dangerous situations. Stay off the ice. Even though it is spectacular and beautiful, it is not worth losing your life for a photo. pic.twitter.com/degDkL1wTo— townofforterie (@TownOfFortErie) December 29, 2022
"Even though it is spectacular and beautiful, it is not worth losing your life for a photo," the Fort Erie Fire Department said. "Please enjoy these natural ice sculptures safely from the shore."
"We're very concerned about the effects of the ice on our building structure. It's a big unknown what happens as we get into the thaw," Crystal Beach resident Bob Gurnham told the Toronto Star. "Some of the ice has started to fall and it sounds like a bomb going off."
The storm knocked out power to thousands of homes in the area, the local electric utility reported. On Christmas morning, when the outages peaked, roughly 15,000 homes were without electricity, Canadian Niagara Power said. All but 96 homes had power restored by late Thursday.
The area around Fort Erie and Buffalo, N.Y., faced the brunt of the winter storm. Dozens of people died in western New York as a result of the low temperatures and heavy snowfall, and a weeklong driving ban in the Buffalo area was finally lifted Thursday.
Warmer-than-average temperatures over the next week or two will allow the snow to start melting.
That coupled with rainfall could lead to flooding, officials have warned. The National Weather Service issued a flood watch through New Year's Day for portions of western New York, saying that ice could jam in creeks, causing water to back up and flood.
"Rain Saturday and Saturday night will also contribute to increased runoff in addition to ongoing snowmelt, and bring another increase in flows over the weekend. Minor poor drainage flooding is also possible in urban areas where piles of snow are blocking drainage structures this weekend," the NWS said in its forecast.
On the Canada side, a flood watch was in effect into Monday.