Crystal Beach in Fort Erie, Ontario, is truly living up to its name this week as surreal pictures of “ice houses” formed by last week’s massive winter snowstorm circulate the world, prompting sentiments of disbelief, awe, and concern.
The lakefront community of roughly 8,500 people was hit particularly hard by the storm in question thanks to its location on the very eastern edge of Lake Erie, right across from Buffalo, where more than 30 people are reported to have died as a result of the weather event.
Residents of the Niagara region town were warned well in advance of potential flooding, dangerous wind gusts in excess of 110 km/h, and heavy precipitation, but few could have predicted that Crystal Beach would actually appear crystallized by the time all was said and done.
Video showing a row of houses along Lake Erie completely covered in ice following the winter storm that swept through much of Ontario last week pic.twitter.com/25PXRF7DKw
— Nick Iwanyshyn (@NickIwanyshyn) December 27, 2022
Homes, vehicles, signs, benches and everything else that happened to be sitting on the shores of Lake Erie when the blizzard hit were blasted with monster waves on Friday, as chilling videos from the scene show.
This is Crystal Beach in Fort Erie Ontario #crystalbeach #niagara #forterie #blizzard #insurance #snow #emergency pic.twitter.com/pFojb91PeZ
— I am Winston (@withdupid) December 25, 2022
Strong winds tossed rounds upon rounds of freezing water from Lake Erie upon the houses and cottages of Crystal Beach, coating them in layers of ice as the streets below filled with water.
A friend sent photos from the condos on the waters edge at Crystal Beach’s Vinyl Village. pic.twitter.com/wbjzNHbfF1
— Kay Dub (@walcott_karen) December 24, 2022
The freezing lake spray left no surface untouched, freezing instantly upon contact and coating homes in up to a foot of ice by the accounts of some locals.
All along the Lakefront. Here is Shipwreck 1. pic.twitter.com/PA43btCqUc
— Helen Filipe (@helenfilipe) December 28, 2022
Thousands of people in the area — some 15,000 at one point, according to Canadian Niagara Power Inc. — were left without power as the storm bore down, knocking out electricity lines and sparking a state of emergency for the entire Niagara Region.
Paralyzing blizzard conditions in Crystal Beach. I’ll probably never see anything like this again in a LONG time here….#blizzard2022 #lakeerie #onstorm #onwx @NWSBUFFALO @ECCCWeatherON pic.twitter.com/WrlBkstwZD
— David Piano (@ONwxchaser) December 23, 2022
It wasn’t until the storm had subsided, however, that the world got a good look at the beautiful mess it left behind.
Had the chance to get out to Crystal Beach to see the aftermath of the winter storm!! It’s crazy out here. Never seen anything like this! (And the ground here at the park was all ice haha.) #onwx pic.twitter.com/fnVVKuqyHZ
— Lou is festive (kinda) ❄️💞 (@Cat_Louuu) December 27, 2022
To be honest, it looks like something out of a movie — one less white-balanced and symmetrical than Disney’s Frozen, but similar in theme.
My dads places in Crystal Beach after the winter storm pic.twitter.com/BnntAihoMz
— Bat Boy Slim (@TerjeOliver) December 26, 2022
Fort Erie and other locales along the lakefront continue to clean up from the storm, where possible, but the icing has thus far been pretty resilient.
Crystal beach, day5 of “Storm Elliot” #stormelliot #ONSTORM2022 #ONStorm #FortErie #CrystalBeach #Buffalo #Ontario #beachlife pic.twitter.com/VeWoZfc6kY
— Tray Tray ❤️ (@TraceySGrote) December 28, 2022
Lake Erie is calm now (frozen, to be specific.). Power has been restored to most.
Fortunately, no (human) injuries have been reported as a result of the Crystal Beach crystallization.
We can only hope on behalf that the flash freeze didn’t completely destroy any homes or cottages… though property owners tell blogTO that it’s still too early to tell.