Lake Poinsett, SD
For months, this is the day property owners around Lake Poinsett have been dreading. Now, the flooded lake is taking down property.
Just when those who have cabins and homes around Lake Poinsett were starting to think that the ice was melting away enough that they could escape damage, the wind picked up Thursday morning. Once the sun came up, property owners were picking up pieces. The power of nature is hard to fight, and that's prompted a warning for those around Lake Poinsett.
“If ice is up against your house, you need to get out of them now," Hamlin County Emergency Manager Dave Schaeffer said.
A cabin on the south side of the lake was destroyed overnight. The owner spent the day sifting through the rubble trying to salvage anything of value that's not ruined. Other cabins have had the front side torn off. Still more cabins are in danger of damage.
"People's personal safety has to be first. Property can be replaced. We need to worry about personal safety here," Schaeffer said.
Gwen Pederson lives just a few lots down from the destroyed cabin. She and her husband woke up Thursday morning to find the ice had come to their end of the lake, and that it had damaged several of their neighbors' property.
"We called all of our neighbors and let them know there is damage up here and if they can get up here as soon as they can, and do anything we can," Pederson said.
Residents are describing the power of the ice similar to that of a tornado because just a few feet down from the destroyed cabin, there's very little damage from ice against a deck. But the ice is showing just how far it can, and will, travel. On an empty lot, it's pushed 50 feet out of the water and nearly made it onto the road. In places, the piled up ice towers nearly six feet off the ground.
"We're a little nervous. It's getting higher. It's higher than we ever expected it and it's starting to pile up and there's more ice out there than it really looks like," Pederson said.
Now that ice is ready to travel whichever direction the wind will take it. Because of that, more damage is expected.
"This is not something we're going to see improve in a short amount of time. We're going to deal with this for an extended period. That's why people need to be careful because just because the ice is off, the danger has not passed," Schaeffer said.
And that lasting danger will be waves, which are already battering homes that were dry at the peak of last summer's flood.
When cabins are destroyed, additional dangers like electricity and propane can easily compound problems. That is why officials are warning all property owners to take notice of the situation.
Some owners have tried to protect their property by placing cement blocks in front of their cabins. Thursday’s ice simply pushed those 2,000 pound blocks like they were weightless toys.