May 7, 2013 6:25 pm

Ice blown off lake damages dozens of Alberta Beach properties

EDMONTON – Approximately 40 properties on Alberta Beach were damaged after strong winds forced large ice flows off the lake and into several homes, boat houses, and garages.

“My uncle called about 11:30,” recalls Scott Morrison, a property owner, “and he goes, ‘are you asleep?’ and I said ‘yeah’, and he says ‘you better go check your basement. I think there’s ice in it.’”

Monday night, strong winds blew chunks of ice off the lake; upsetting piers, boats, fences, and – in some cases – homes and cottages.

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“You could hear the crinkling of the ice because it’s all broken up… I don’t know how to describe it; it just kind of smashed along. It wasn’t big or booming, it was just like ice falling,” he says.

“The wind was still howling, so I couldn’t get out there to do anything because the ice was still moving, so I just let it do its thing.”

By the time the winds died down, there were piles of ice inside Morrison’s house. (View photo gallery below)

“It was through the door and through the window.”

“I’m 43, and it’s the worst I’ve seen it,” he admits. “I’ve seen the ice pile up, but it’s always been on the beach, not up on the grass.”

Morrison’s friend Rick Shewchuk stopped by Tuesday morning to see the damage.

“It’s pretty amazing when you see the power of nature like this. We had these really, really high winds last night, and it just came up all of a sudden,” says Shewchuk.

“It’s pretty amazing to see a boathouse like that just plumb full of ice and splitting at the seams.”

Morrison says he’ll try to find someone with a Bobcat to help move the ice off his property. Otherwise, he’ll shovel it out by hand, and hope that the sun melts the ice and helps speed things along.

“With the warm weather, it should just disappear… of course, that’s what I said yesterday, before I went to bed,” Morrison adds with a smile.

Ironically, several places in Alberta broke temperature records Monday. Edmonton reached a high of 31 degrees; smashing the previous record from the 1960s.

“Nature’s pretty powerful,” says Morrison. “I’m actually quite fortunate that that’s all it did.”

“If it’s just the door and the window, that’s easy to replace… The house could have gone down … Neighbours have lost their boat houses and stuff like that, and I think I’m fortunate compared to them.”

With files from Fletcher Kent

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