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'Unbelievable': Ontario town crystallized in ice following major winter storm


A small town in the Niagara region appears to be completely crystallized following the massive winter storm that swept throughout the province late last week, giving a new meaning to the town’s name.

Crystal Beach, a lakefront community in Fort Erie, Ont., is now covered in ice, from the roofs of its houses to the roofs of cars. The storm prompted Environment Canada to issue weather warnings for much of the province due to powerful winds and dumps of snow.

The winds were so strong that the waves from Lake Erie threw water on homes in the community, and encrusted them in ice.

“[The waves] were coming up over the break wall. They were probably 10 [or] 15 feet high, up above the break wall,” Derek Tupling, a long-time Crystal Beach resident, told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday. “Then the water has frozen up the backsides of the houses, so from the tops of the houses all the way down. So, you can just imagine the sheer volume and strength of water coming up over the wall to hit it and then freeze – flash freeze – immediately. It’s absolutely incredible.”

Tupling added that the ice on the backs of these homes is at least a foot thick, which has residents concerned about the damage once the ice begins to thaw and the water starts to pool.

“We’ve been here for a long time and have never seen weather as bad as that over that period of time,” Tupling said. “The damage that’s been caused and the destruction on the backsides of these houses of where we are now is unbelievable.”

Jean Marchand told CTV News Toronto that there were also whiteout conditions in Crystal Beach – “we couldn’t see across the street.”

“Wind was blowing a gale, it was probably like 100 km/h, [and] we couldn’t see a thing,” Marchand said.

Many residents in Fort Erie were without power over the weekend, with roughly 3,900 residents still without power, according to a Dec. 26 update from Canadian Niagara Power Inc.

“At the peak of the outage, there were 15,000 customers without power, and we have restored approximately 11,000 customers since that time,” the power company said in the update. “The safety of our crews and the community remain our number one priority.”

With files from CTV Toronto’s Beth Macdonell Top Stories

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