Strong Winds Blow Ice Off Mille Lacs Lake, Damages Homes

Updated: 04/28/2014 3:38 PM
Created: 04/27/2014 1:56 PM
By: Cassie Hart

Residents on Mille Lacs Lake were hoping for an ice out, instead they go an "ice in." Strong winds Sunday blocked part of Highway 169 in Crow Wing County and damaged some homes.

The wall of ice, pushed by 30 mph winds, took out the deck poles to one home and plunged through the side, creating a hole 6 feet in diameter.

"We heard the studs in the wall crack as the ice was coming through, so we left. It was coming so fast," said Robert Schulke.

Another homeowner was using a Bobcat to keep the ice at bay.

Earlier in the day, a crew used heavy equipment to remove the ice that built up on Highway 169 near Garrison. The ice blocked the road for more than an hour. Traffic was backed up and drivers had to turn around and look for another way to get to their destination.

Twin Pines Resort owner Bill Eno said this was the worst he has seen the ice in 20 years.

MnDOT is urging drivers to slow down and expect delays as crews intermittently close lanes to clear the ice from the roadway.

“With heavy winds and spring ice out, ice flows off Lake Mille Lacs can cross both lanes of the road in little as 15 minutes,” said Jon Beaufeaux, MnDOT acting maintenance supervisor. “The ice flows will likely continue until the wind dies down or shifts direction.”

This is nothing new for the area. Last year, large sheets of ice were blown off the lake from the wind and crashed into lake homes on the south side of the lake.

The large lake is not the only one with ice still left on its surface. Several northern Minnesota lakes aren't expected to defrost in time for the fishing opener in two weeks on May 10.

Watch video courtesy of Melanie Llewellyn and Bill Eno of Twin Pines Resort here.

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Minneapolis/St. Paul

60° | 40°
  • Feels like: 51° F
  • Wind: ESE 10mph
  • Humidity: 66%
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