The Washington Post

Lake ice avalanche crashes into homes in Minnesota (VIDEO)

Strong winds slammed a massive sheet of thawing ice on a Minnesota lake onto land Saturday, damaging houses and boats.

“I have seen many things in 30 years of forecasting weather in Minnesota,” writes Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) meteorologist Paul Huttner. “I have never seen anything like this.”

The ice, guided by winds from the northwest gusting up to 40 mph, crashed into the southern shores along Lake Mille Lacs in the town of Onamia, Minnesota. Mille Lacs is Minnesota’s second largest inland lake, covering 132,516 acres.


Via NOAA: This image – showing ice cover on Minnesota lakes – was taken by the Suomi NPP satellite’s VIIRS instrument around 1825Z (2:25 p.m. EDT) on May 12, 2013.

Resembling a tsunami, a glacier or something in between, the ice covered 10 miles of shoreline and drifted up to 30 feet high.

Crews from the Department of Natural Resources were dispatched to remove some of the ice, which damaged doors and windows.

MPR’s Huttner notes similar circumstances occurred in western Manitoba, Canada where ice caused even more extreme damage, devouring a number of houses. Link: Wall of ice destroys Manitoba homes, cottages

At Lake Mille Lacs, the presence of ice so late into spring is nearing a record. Its latest “ice out” on the books occurred around mid-May 1950, according to MPR.

Here’s some more video from Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota:

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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