High winds and lakeside ice pileups plague Buffalo area

Mounds of ice collect along the Lake Erie shore at Hoover Beach, in Hamburg, N.Y., Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. High winds howled through much of the nation's eastern half for a second day Monday, cutting power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses, closing schools, and pushing dramatic mountains of ice onto the shores of Lake Erie. (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — High winds raised water levels and sent giant ice chunks spilling over the banks of the Niagara River across from Buffalo, New York, creating a jagged barrier between the river and a scenic road.

Footage captured by Canadian parks police shows massive chunks tumbling over each other to create the wall in Fort Erie, Ontario on Sunday.

Ice mounds 25 to 30 feet high also came ashore farther south, piling up on several lakefront properties in suburban Hamburg.

“It’s awesome! Crazy and awesome at the same time,” said Rose Hirshbeck of Hamburg as she braced against bitter, buffeting winds to snap photos of the mounds which stretched along the shoreline as far as the eye could see. “This is unbelievable.”

More than 65,000 power outages were reported around upstate New York Monday morning as high winds rattled the region for a second day.

Hundreds of schools had cancellations or delays.

“I have my daughter with me. We’re off from school so came down to check out the ice,” said Chris Karys of Blasdell, who pulled over along the Lake Erie shoreline in Hamburg. He picked up a basketball-sized chunk of ice and posed for a photo in front of the towering piles.

“I’ve seen some of the ice before,” said Karys, who went to high school nearby, “but nothing as high as this.”

High winds had raised the water levels on the eastern end of Lake Erie in a phenomenon known as a seiche, according to the New York Power Authority. The ice was then pushed over a boom upstream from the river.