Lakeside homes are completely encased in ice after a storm — see the photos

Residents say the ice is anywhere from 1 to 3 feet thick!
Hoover Beach, Lake Erie, ice houses
Houses along the shores of Lake Erie were covered and encased in ice, as seen on Saturday, Feb. 29.Jeffrey T. Barnes / AP
/ Source: TODAY

Several houses along the shore of Lake Erie look like a scene out of "Frozen" after incredibly strong winds and waves off the lake completely encased the homes in ice.

The residents who live at Hoover Beach in Hamburg, New York, less than 30 minutes from Buffalo, woke up Friday to find their homes looking like glaciers inside and out. In some cases, houses were entirely dark inside due to thick ice covering windows and doors.

Local police are asking visitors to stay away from the ice-encased houses. "Not only is the ice extremely unsafe and unstable, the majority is in areas which are private property," a Facebook post reads.Jeffrey T. Barnes / AP

Long, thick icicles and ice wrapped tightly around door frames and trees, creating a wild ice spectacle that's drawn masses to the area.

A house along Hoover Beach is covered in ice from high winds and the waves from Lake Erie.Jeffrey T. Barnes / AP

In fact, the local police had to ask the public to please stop "trespassing" to check out the ice homes over the weekend.

Local meteorologists say the phenomena is unusual, given the warmer winter they've had so far. There was very little ice cover on Lake Erie due to the milder weather, which allowed the waves to get much larger.

"So because of the high winds, there was an awful lot of spray coming off the lake," Judy Levan, the meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Buffalo, said. "Normally this time of year, we generally have more ice cover on the lake so we don't have that much spray. The lake is generally a sheet of ice."

The houses on the shore of Hoover Beach endured the spray for approximately 16-18 hours under 50 mph winds.

Several of the homes look like they're made from ice.Jeffrey T. Barnes / AP

"It's hard to say until the ice melts to see what the damage is to any of the structures," Levan told TODAY. "As long as they are still encased with ice, it's really hard to say."

Lake Erie's waves crash over a road during a blizzard in Hamburg on Feb. 27.LINDSAY DEDARIO / Reuters

Ed Mis, a homeowner in Hamburg, told NBC's WGRZ that he has never seen conditions so bad. The ice covering the front of his home is approximately 1 to 3 feet thick. His neighbor's home is completely blocked with ice almost reaching her roof.

Thick ice coats the front of this home, making the steps completely impassable.Jeffrey T. Barnes / AP

"I actually had to go out a secondary door and then chisel my way back into the house by breaking the ice," Mis told WGRZ.

A house along Hoover Beach is covered by ice from high winds and from the waves from Lake Erie, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Hamburg N.Y.Jeffrey T. Barnes / AP

The damage of the ice and spray is limited to the residences along the shore, according to Sean Crotty, the emergency manager in Hamburg. If there was damage to public infrastructures, it would have been covered by an emergency declaration from the governor's office. Unfortunately for these residents, their private property is not covered.

"The community has been seeing more than their fair share of situations between wind damage and the Halloween storm and an ice shove at the end of February," Crotty said. "In the last year, they've endured probably a half dozen really heavy-duty storms that have caused damage to their homes, seawalls and private property."

Long icicles hang from this house at Hoover Beach, after strong gale-force winds and big waves completely encased the house in ice.Jeffrey T. Barnes / AP

While the ice remains an additional hardship for the community that has dealt with many harsh storms, the biggest concern is the damage that could be left behind when the ice melts.

As of Monday, temperatures are above freezing, melting some of the ice as the town gets some rain as well. The weight of the ice is extremely heavy on these homes, and the rain adds even more weight.

Local meteorologists said the waves were able to get so big because there wasn't much ice on Lake Erie due to a mild winter.Jeffrey T. Barnes / AP

"There's really nowhere forward to go," Crotty told TODAY Home. "A gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds, and when you look at all the ice that's on these residences, we still have concerns for structural collapse. ... There's still a potential for some substantial damage to occur."

When the ice melts, homeowners will have to assess the damage.Jeffrey T. Barnes / AP