A December cold snap has produced this season's first substantial icing of the St. Joseph, Michigan lighthouses. While not as dramatic as some other years, the icing is always interesting and different.
The outer lighthouse generally gets the most ice, as it's located on the end of the breakwater, and receives waves and splashes from three sides depending upon how the wind blows. There is also less chance for the waves to break and reduce size before hitting the breakwater. Splashes from the waves reach a height of 70 feet at times, and this spray is what creates the ice on the lighthouses and other surfaces.
At the point where the breakwater increases in size toward the shore, ice builds up as well. The crashing waves splash up on the catwalk, freezing into giant icicles.
The windward beach hasn't yet received as much shelf ice as the other side of the pier. It can be seen in the foreground just beginning. A contributing factor is the drift ice, and this area hasn't caught any yet.
Posted by Tom Gill at Thursday, December 22, 2016