‘Bigger and bigger every day:’ Cold weather forms unique ice floes on Lake Michigan

RACINE COUNTY -- Pictures don't do quite a justice to the large chunks of ice that have formed on Lake Michigan in Racine County. A lot of people in the area say they've never seen anything like it, but the Coast Guard says it has everything to do with the weather.

"They kind of floated in gently and then haven't moved since, and they're getting bigger and bigger every day," said Bart Becherer, from Wind Point.

Photos show three or four ice chunks that are several feet high.

Lake Michigan ice floes

"Looks like maybe 30 feet," said Kuldeep Soni, from Racine County.

"They must be half the size of a football field so they are for real," said Becherer.

Lake Michigan ice floes

The Coast Guard calls them ice floes, and while people in the area have never seen them, they're pretty common.

Lake Michigan ice floes

"It's common, we just haven't seen it because we don't get this frigid weather very often," said Jeff Daily, petty officer.

Petty Officer Jeff Daily explains they could also be a pressure ridge and the colder the weather the more ice there is.

"That's where two plates of ice basically run into each other and one goes on top of the other and it kind of peaks up and forms what could like like an iceberg," said Daily.

Lake Michigan ice floes

Wind is also a factor and also causes ice to break up and move around.

The Coast Guard warns those thinking about getting an up close look at the ice -- don't.

Kuldeep Soni

"There's always some crazy people that walk on the ice and think it's safe," said Becherer.

"It could be paper thin in one area and six inches in another so there's no such thing as safe ice,"  Daily said.

The Coast Guard says anyone who does go on the ice, be prepared to fall through. They suggest wearing a dry suit, life jacket and a way to call for help.

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