1. Yes, this is a real house completely encased in ice
There's cold, and then there's "my entire house is covered in ice and looks like an outtake from 'Frozen'" cold.
This igloo -- er, house -- is in Webster, New York, just outside of Rochester. The area is one of the snowiest in the country, thanks to freezing winter temperatures and the moisture of the nearby Great Lakes. In the case of this prank of nature, high winds joined in the party and coated the house in layer after layer of ice.
Photographer John Kucko captured the scene, and says the area has had some particularly nasty weather lately.
"We had violent winds here the last five days," Kucko told CNN. "Power was knocked out to 150,000 people. Some are still without power."
In case you were wondering whether some poor soul came home one day to find their house turned into an ice sculpture, Kucko says the property is actually a remote beach house that sits a mere 25 feet or so from the shore of Lake Ontario.
Also, you may notice the house behind it looks completely unscathed. Kucko says it's because that house has a retaining wall to, well, prevent slippery situations exactly like this one.
2. Entire car gets frozen in ice as hazardous weather hits Lake Erie near Buffalo
A car in Buffalo turned into a giant icicle after being completely frozen over by Monday morning.
Strong winds and freezing temperatures transformed the sedan into an ice sculpture.
With gusts roaring at up to 47 miles per hour on Sunday, waves from Lake Erie surged onto Buffalo’s streets, freezing at least one soaked car as temperatures plunged overnight. The ground surrounding the car also turned into a makeshift ice rink.
“I don’t even know if pictures do it justice of just how insane this image is,” Matt Bove, a WKBW reporter who took the photo, told ABC.
Buffalo residents can expect more frozen cars and snowfall in the next few days, as the National Weather Service warns of hazardous weather conditions from Tuesday to early Thursday morning.
The upstate New York region can expect a total of 9 to 18 inches of lake effect snow coming for the next three days, along with gusts howling up to 45 mph.
After a slow start, including a historic spell of no snow in the city, winter has ramped up in Buffalo, which sees an average of nearly 100 inches of white stuff each winter.
3. Cold May Kill DC's Cherry Blossoms; Festival Start Date Pushed Back
Washington's famous cherry blossoms were encased in ice after snowfall late Monday and early Tuesday -- but low temperatures expected over the next few days will be more dangerous for the blooms.
The storm that covered Washington with more than 2 inches of snow left many of the famous cherry blossoms on the Tidal Basin strikingly coated in ice. Some brown spots are visible on the flowers.
More troublesome, though, is that temperatures are expected to drop below "the critical 27 degree mark" at which the blossoms die, National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said.
"Our big concern is the overnight temperatures for the next three nights, which are expected to drop below 27 degrees," he said.
Storm Team4 is forecasting lows of as cold as 23 degrees.
Temperatures below 27 degrees kill about 10 percent of the blossoms, as News4 previously reported. At 24 degrees or colder, about 90 percent of the pink petals die.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is still on, but the opening date of the welcome area and ANA Performance Stage has been pushed back from Wednesday to Saturday, organizers announced Tuesday morning. Organizers cited "setup delays caused by the storm."
The closer the trees are to being in bloom, the more at risk of damage the blossoms are, Litterst said. If the blossoms are still tight in buds, they're "hopefully" still protected. The cold may damage the flowers, but the trees themselves are expected to be fine.
If you see a cherry blossom tree covered in ice, leave it alone. Shaking the branches to try to clear the snow and ice can cause damage, the National Park Service says.
4. “My stomach turned seeing this:” Racine’s historic “Palmer” boat encased in foot of ice in Root River
RACINE -- A piece of Racine history has sunk as a historic boat sits submerged in the Root River. It's not yet certain what caused the boat to sink. It happened the day after Christmas -- and then it got cold.
Along the Root River in Racine, the boat is drawing a crowd.
"I've seen this boat in the water my entire life. I can remember coming as a kid, coming down and riding our bikes down here," said Bob Hart.
Bob Hart says the ship has been around longer than he has, which is why he can't believe it's now at the bottom of the river. The historic "Palmer," is encased in a foot of ice.
If you want to know the Palmer's history, just ask Bob Strege.
"I made a fairly decent living from it, so I can't complain," said Strege.
The retired commercial fisherman owned the boat for roughly three decades.
"Built in Sturgeon Bay in 1926," said Strege's daughter, Pamela Gursky.
Strege's daughter has a scrapbook showing the boat's better days. She's wondering how this could happen.
"My stomach literally turned seeing this," said Gursky.
"My thought was negligence; that's what it is," said Strege.
The DNR says after the boat sank on December 26th, they have contacted the owner, who has 30 days to get it out. Attempts earlier this week by a salvage company to retrieve the Palmer, failed.
"I give it different ideas on how to get it raised. They don't want to listen to me, so here it sits," said Strege.
A former captain and his family look on, hoping someone can save a piece of Racine history.
"I hope it goes into a museum," said Strege.
The Palmer does have a rich history. When the SS Milwaukee sank in 1929, one of the greatest disasters in the Great Lakes history, we are told the Palmer helped look for survivors.
The family really hopes a museum will step in.
FOX6 was unable to reach the boat's current owner on Friday. The DNR says if the boat is not removed in 30 days since it sank, the owner will be handed out a nearly $300 fine per day until it's removed.
5. Frozen in time: Stunning photos reveal breath-taking beauty of trees encased in ice and snow in Western Russia
A nature photographer has captured breath-taking photos of frozen trees in a remote part of Western Russia where the temperature drops to a chilling -35C.
Set against the red and orange glow of the sky, the trees carve eerie shapes on the frigid landscape as they buckle under the weight of ice and snow.
They make for unworldly figures as they stand against a magnificent, wintry backdrop in Perm Krai and Sverdlovsk Oblast.
The stunning shots were captured by Russian photographer Sergey Makurin in the Ural Mountains, which extend south from the coast of the Arctic Ocean.
Sergey trekked through sub-zero weather to access an area which is extremely isolated with very few human inhabitants for miles around.
Some of his images show clusters of bent trees, which make it seem like a single tree has been sliced in half.
Sergey, 45, said: ‘When I was 12 years old I got to see the Ural Mountains for the first time and I was amazed.
‘I felt I had to share this incredible region with the rest of the world.
‘The trees do look eerie and knowing that you are in a very isolated area can sometimes be a little unnerving.’
He added: ‘During the winter months the area has so much natural beauty and it can be a comforting thought that you are so far away from anything.
‘It's not always easy to get the perfect shot, and sometimes it takes me hours or even days to get it right.
‘But the shooting process carries me away from everything and I feel at my best when I'm taking pictures of breath-taking natural beauty like the one found in Ural.’
6. See Cars Encased in Ice as Firefighters Put Out Brooklyn Blaze
Cars and motorcycles were completely encased in ice in Brooklyn, N.Y., today after firefighters used tons of water to put out a blaze at a warehouse.
About 275 firefighters were at the scene of the seven-alarm fire in Williamsburg, where they faced wind and cold temperatures so severe that ice formed on their helmets, The Associated Press reports.
The thick smoke was sustained by paper inside the warehouse. One person was treated for smoke inhalation, but no other injuries were reported, according to the AP.
7. Lighthouse transformed into a fairy castle after being encased in sparkling ice
Rising from the water in shimmering tiers, it looks more like a fairy tale castle than a lighthouse.
But this incredible sculpture was actually created by layers of frost encrusted on the walls of the structure which sits at Cleveland Harbour on the shores of Lake Erie, Ohio.
Sub-zero air temperatures have caused the water to freeze in multiple layers, coating the entire building in ice. It has also made it virtually impossible for mariners to see the light.
The phenomenon was created by bone-chilling storms which have plagued the Midwest for days before sweeping through the Northeast and on into Canada. Hundreds of motorists have been stranded on a southern Ontario highway.
More snow fell yesterday in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The frigid temperatures stretched into the deep South, where hard freeze warnings were in effect overnight in much of Florida. Hundreds of schools were closed or opening late.
Canadian officials said about 150 of the estimated 300 people trapped in their vehicles on Highway 402 near Sarnia, Ontario, had been rescued, as many as a dozen by military helicopters.
Many people are staying with their vehicles. Sarnia is about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northeast of Detroit.
Ontario Community Safety Minister Jim Bradley said he had no reports of deaths or injuries among the stranded.
In northern Ohio, the wintry blast created risky driving conditions and pushed some university exams to Christmas week.
Commuters walking on snow-encrusted sidewalks clutched hats and tugged scarves tightly against the windy onslaught in Cleveland, where as much as 9 more inches (23 more centimeters) could fall before a storm warning expires Wednesday morning. Up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) of snow has already fallen in parts of the snow belt east of the city.
Buffalo is used to getting thumped by lake effect storms coming off Lake Erie.
Helicopters were being used on Florida's valuable and sensitive vegetable crops, an unusual approach by farmers worried that an uncommon freeze could wipe out their harvests. The choppers hover low over fields to push warmer air closer to the plants.
It was too windy to use helicopters Tuesday morning, but farmer John Hundley said he would try Tuesday night if winds calmed and temperatures did not warm up.
8. Chicago's Freezing Fire
On Tuesday night, a huge vacant warehouse on Chicago's South Side went up in flames. Fire department officials said it was the biggest blaze the department has had to battle in years and one-third of all Chicago firefighters were on the scene at one point or another trying to put out the flames. Complicating the scene was the weather -- temperatures were well below freezing and the spray from the fire hoses encased everything below in ice, including buildings, vehicles, and some firefighting gear. The warehouse was gutted, but the fire was contained. Fire crews remain on the scene as some smaller flare-ups continue to need attention.
9. This crazy creature just returned from the dead after 30 years encased in ice
The itty-bitty water bears were lying in some frozen moss when a team of Japanese researchers discovered them on a trip to the Antarctic in 1983. But rather than warming up the creatures, called tardigrades, the scientists locked them in a box of ice, shipped them to Japan and stuck them in a lab for more than 30 years.
No matter, though. It takes more than a few decades stored at subzero temperatures to knock out a tardigrade. So, just one day after a separate team finally pulled the microorganisms out of their frozen cell in 2014, poking them with pipettes and soaking them in a nutrient bath, one of them started wiggling.
Before long, the tardigrade — which the researchers named “Sleeping Beauty 1” was scampering around its petri dish, even laying eggs. Meanwhile, a second tardigrade (“Sleeping Beauty 2”) began to revive, while an egg that had been found alongside them started to hatch, the scientists reported this week in the journal Cryobiology.
Dig ’em up, freeze ’em, abandon ’em for a generation — tardigrades can take it all. The cockroach wishes it was this sturdy.
These seemingly indestructible creatures — known as “water bears” but more closely resembling a cross between a caterpillar, a hippopotamus and Jabba the Hut — are the latest darlings of the biology world. They’re so adored that a group of University of North Carolina researchers launched an International Society of Tardigrade Hunters last year to seek out new species of tardigrade and promote appreciation of them among the general public, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York built a 10-foot replica of one to float above an exhibit on nature’s most resilient creatures.
If a funny-looking microorganism seems like an odd poster child for the wonders of nature, well, then, you probably haven’t heard a long enough list of all the ridiculous things they can do.
Tardigrades have been found in the most far-flung corners of the planet, resisting whatever unbearable conditions the world throws at them. They live in the oxygen-low extremes of the high Himalayas, the ice of the Antarctic, deep sea trenches, the dubious waters of a pond in New York’s Central Park. (They also live in pretty mundane places: dirt, moss, dust from the street.)
And that’s nothing compared with the indignities to which scientists have subjected them: starving them, squishing them, burning them, blasting them with radiation, drying them out and then rehydrating them like a packet of ramen noodles, even rocketing them into the frozen vacuum of space.
“They are probably the most extreme survivors that we know of among animals,” Bob Goldstein, a biologist at UNC Chapel Hill, told Wired in 2014.
Plus, they’re fairly cute: half a millimeter long (small enough to fit on the period at the end of this sentence) and roly-poly shaped, and what look like eight stubby legs and a squashed face. Unlike most other invertebrates, which tend to dart about frenetically, tardigrades are amblers — their name is Latin for “slow stepper.” Their anatomy is also a scaled down, simplified replica of what’s found in larger animals, writes Baker University biologist William Miller for the American Scientist, which makes them ideal teaching tools. At one point, researchers thought the creatures would be the main model organism for studies of development — though that honor now lies with C. elegans, or roundworms, a staple of college biology classrooms.
But the tardigrade still holds its own. In this latest study, the creatures more than tripled their species’ previous record for survival in a cryogenic stasis (take that, C. elegens) — eight years for adult animals, nine years for their eggs. It was thought that 10 years might be the upper limit for survival in this sort of state, the researchers wrote; at some point, the cells would begin to break down.
But a combination of optimal storage conditions and the tardigrades’ incredible resilience enabled the creatures to survive 31 years encased in ice and relatively unscathed.
The secret to their success rests in their ability to enter a state called cryptobiosis, in which their metabolism grinds to a standstill, Miller wrote. For all practical purposes, they’re pretty much dead.
But this is actually a survival mechanism for the dirt-dwelling creatures, which require a thin film of water around them at all times. If their conditions get too dry, the creatures will lose 97 percent of their body moisture and shrink to less than 40 percent of their full size, becoming desiccated husks of their former selves. In this cryptobiotic state, the animals can survive just about anything. Their cells become impervious to heat, cold, some radiation, extreme pressure (or lack thereof). From there, it’s just a waiting game, the dried-out creatures (called “tuns”) biding their time until their conditions are wet enough to resurrect themselves.
That’s what happened when the Japanese researchers thawed out the frozen tardigrades they’d taken from the Antarctic. Just two of the creatures were able to return from the dead when the scientists tried to revive them — several others were found stretched out in the characteristic tardigrade deathbed pose. And although Sleeping Beauty 2 died after two weeks, its companion lived long enough to hatch 14 eggs. A tardigrade born from a revived egg that was found with them also lived and gave birth to young of its own.
The scientists now aim to figure out how the creatures were able to live so long, lead author Megumu Tsujimto said in a news release, by studying the damage to the tardigrades’ DNA and how they were able to repair it.
10. HBO Made Fans Watch Ice Melt for 69 Minutes to Find Out When Season 7 of Game of Thrones Premieres
Most shows would just send out a press release or tweet announcing their season premiere date. But not Game of Thrones, which spent 69 minutes on Thursday afternoon melting a giant block of ice on Facebook Live—a stunt gone wrong, given that the livestream was interrupted twice and stretched for more than an hour—to learn that Season 7 of the show will debut on July 16.
But more than 162,000 people were still watching the livestream when the date was finally revealed.
Earlier in the day, HBO directed fans to its Facebook Live stream at 2 p.m. ET to reveal the date of the Season 7 premiere. As the livestream started, users were asked to type “FIRE” in the comments to help melt the block of ice and reveal the premiere date encased in it.
But 15 minutes later the livestream ended with no premiere date revealed.
HBO started another Facebook Live feed 15 minutes later, at 2:30 p.m., explaining, “The fire in the realm was overpowering, but we’re back.” That video, too, ended after 15 minutes.
Cast members like Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Nikolaj-Coster Waldau (Jaime Lannister) and Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) popped up on the stream to encourage fans to type “FIRE” in the comments, but that didn’t speed up the process.
Fans started to get upset when it became clear it was going to take a long time for the ice to melt.