Giant Balls of Ice Are Washing Up on Lake Michigan Shores
In case you haven't noticed, it's cold outside! January is historically the coldest month for West Michigan but if forecasters are accurate and we don't get above freezing until January 31st like they've called for, we are on track to break some of our own records for the longest streak of consecutive days below 32 degrees. What a bummer!
Although this arctic blast isn't all that bad. The colder temperatures have led to some pretty unique weather phenomena such as the mesmerizing and strange design left on this man's pond in Caro, MI and the frozen ice curtains in the Upper Penninsula.
Now that conditions are just right, giant balls of ice have recently been washing up on the shores of Lake Michigan. Hal Sorstokke spotted the giant balls of ice along Esch Road Beach in Benzie County. According to Hal several of the rollers were 8 to 12 inches in diameter, but there were quite a few in the 36 inch range! This is not the first time we've seen the giant ice balls along the lakeshore. Currently residents in the Pentwater and Leland area are spotting them too. So how do these frozen ice balls come to be?
The unique phenomena occurs during periods of particularly cold weather. The ice balls are formed when the choppy waters near the shoreline break up a layer of slushy ice. The chunk of ice breaks off and then continues to amass more layers as temperatures continue to hang near freezing. The turbulent water rocks and rolls the chunk of ice into the ball-like shape that appears on the lake shore.
The orbs, which can grow to be the size of exercise balls, have been spotted everywhere from Chicago to the Michigan lakeshore to Finland! Have you ever seen these giant balls of ice in person?