Dangerous shelf ice forms along Lake Michigan

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Dangerous shelf ice has formed along the Lake Michigan shoreline in northwest Indiana. (WLS)

Dangerous shelf ice has formed along Lake Michigan in northwest Indiana.

While it looks like enormous sand dunes, shelf ice is actually huge piles of ice with sand embedded within them. While it may look inviting to walk on, it can be quite dangerous.


"There could be air pockets where someone can just fall right through and then they're in the water. And now they're in an ice cave, and because there's an ice wall, they're not going to be able to climb out," said Dave Benjamin, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

Mary Ann Best grew up in this neighborhood in Gary, so she knows the risk of climbing onto the shelf ice and tries to warn others.

"Yesterday when I was down on the beach, there was a gentleman that moved here two years ago and nobody had really talked to him about it. He said he was walking out to the edge and he fell down about three feet, but he was still in fairly shallow water," Best said.

Shifting winds can quickly push the ice away from the shore, adding to the risk.

Another risk that will be developing over the next few days is flooding. While many area rivers are currently below flood stage, that could change rapidly as the combination of heavy rain, snowmelt, and a frozen ground will possibly cause major flooding by midweek.

If you encounter flooded roadways, do not try to drive across them. Just a foot of water can wash away most cars as well as SUVs.
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