A local state of emergency has been declared in a western Manitoba municipality after homes in Ochre Beach were destroyed and seriously damaged by a wave of lake ice.
Area officials told CBC News the wind pushed built-up ice off Dauphin Lake on Friday evening and caused it to pile up in the community, located on the lake’s southern shore.
The piles of ice, which were more than nine metres tall in some cases, destroyed at least six homes and cottages, according to the Rural Municipality of Ochre River.
Another 14 homes suffered extensive damage, with some structures knocked off their foundations.
Clayton Watts, Ochre River’s deputy reeve, said it’s a miracle no one was hurt.
He told CBC News one minute people were watching hockey in their living rooms, the next they heard something that sounded like a freight train near their homes.
“It happened so quick,” said Watts. “And you can’t predict it — not like water that slowly comes up.”
Watts said there are several cabins that were completely flattened by the wall of ice that came at them.
“The ice is over top of them, they’ve been crushed, there’s nothing left,” he said.
“There are other cabins that have been knocked right off their footings,” he continued. “There’s ice right over top of some of the cabins, coming over the roof on the other side.”
According to Environment Canada winds were registered at about 80 km/h in the area Friday night.
No insurance coverage for ice damage
Dennis Stykalo, who’s cottage is full of ice after Friday night’s wind storm, told CBC News his insurance does not cover damage done by ice.
He said he’s devastated after the event — he can’t even get inside to recover his valuables.
“You know you’ve got cement, concrete blocks, and steel and the ice goes through it like its just a toothpick,” said Stykalo. “It just shows the power. There is nothing you can do, you just get out of the way and just watch.”
CBC News also contacted an insurance company in Winnipeg who said generally coverage is not provided for damage to homes caused by shoreline ice build up or water-borne ice.
The above video was taken on May 11th,2013 by Darla Johnson at Izatys Resort by Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota.