At first glance, it might look like a contemporary art installation or the result of an ice carving competition. In reality, however, it’s the surreal scene along the shores of Lake Erie in New York. Following two days of intense winds (from 40 to 60 mph gusts), residents woke to find their homes completely covered in ice.

Ed Mis of the town of Hamburg is familiar with the phenomenon but says it’s never been quite this bad. “It looks fake, it looks unreal,” he told CNN. “It’s dark on the inside of my house. It can be a little eerie, a little frightening.”

Mis’s home is covered in several feet of ice. On Thursday, Mis said there was no ice in his yard or on his home, but by Friday morning it was completely covered. Twelve feet of ice now covers his backyard, and his home looks like an ice sculpture.

“We’re worried about the integrity, of structure failure when it starts to melt, because of the weight on the roof […] it’s a beautiful sight, but I don’t want to live through it again.”

Much of the ice is thanks to huge waves, driven by strong winds onto the shore. According to winter weather expert Tim Niziol, “When you are down in the low to mid-20s, all of that spray that comes up and hits the buildings is going to freeze and make it a giant icicle.”

Although the ice has begun to melt, Mis hopes the governor will approve an emergency declaration to assist anyone whose home ultimately sustains permanent damage.

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