Ice caves along Crystal Beach no longer safe

CRYSTAL BEACH, ON. (WIVB) – Right across Lake Erie from Buffalo, a popular summer spot is now a winter wonderland.

Eleven-year-old Nicholas Pagano from Amherst said, “This was my first time at Crystal Beach; I would expect more beach.”

PHOTO GALLERY | See incredible pictures of the ice caves along Crystal Beach

The beach is now covered with caves of ice and cliffs of snow. It was a slippery playground that brought hundreds of people to Crystal Beach.

But by late Monday afternoon, the fun was over.

Several people were hurt after falling on the ice and there were concerns that in some places the ice was too thin to support all the people jumping and sliding.

The formations are the result of what’s known as ice shoves. On Crystal Beach they stopped short of any homes and buildings, but ice shoves, also known as ice tsunamis, can be destructive.

Ice shoves are a result of the freeze-thaw cycle and are created by chunks of ice in the lake and several storms with strong winds.

4 Warn Weather Meteorologist Bryan Shaw explained, “You have to have some melting of the ice so it’s not just one sheet of ice that’s out there. The ice breaks up a bit and then when that happens we have to have a significant wind event. We’ve had plenty, so all that broken up ice starts to get pushed toward shore. When it hits the shore it basically stops, but there’s a lot more ice on the lake and that starts piling up on the rest of the ice. That’s when you start getting these giant ice shoves and mountains of ice that end up on the shoreline.”

It’s a series of events that led to what could be a once-in-a-lifetime sight.

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