'It's inexorable, there's no stopping it': Ice piling up on shoreline of Lake Winnipeg

Huge chunks of ice a metre high and several metres across are piling up on Gimli Beach and on shorelines along many of Manitoba's big lakes. 

"It's inexorable, there's no stopping it. You don't really understand the power of it until you see what it does," said Andy Blicq on Sunday. 

He snapped photos on Saturday of huge ice chunks pressed up against properties near Gimli, Man.

The province is warning people with properties on Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg, Pelican Lake and Dauphin Lake, to move items near the shoreline back as winds gusting to 40-50 km/h set in on Sunday.

Blicq, who has lived in Gimli for five years but visited the area for years before that, said this spring's pileups have come early. 

But so far, neighbours aren't too worried.

One ice chunk climbed the embankment and pushed over to his neighbour's deck, he said. But most people are stuck watching warily. 

"Unless you can easily move something, there's not a lot you can do. It will blow in with incredible power, in big chunks," he said.

"I know last year I watched it move a boulder. It must have been several tons, it just moved it like it was nothing. It's got incredible power, the ice, with the wind behind it. There's no stopping it."

Blicq said it can be quite noisy as the ice blows out from the shore and comes back as big pans that smash up into smaller chunks. It's a photographer's dream, he added.

"It's beautiful. The chunks of ice are kind of a blue — when the sun is out, a blue aquamarine colour — up to a metre thick, big pieces three or four metres across," he said.

"It's interesting because the lake is still, much more still than we're used to … we're not used to it being like glass. The water is like glass because the ice is keeping the wind from blowing on and creating waves." 

Precautionary evacuations in OCN 

In the province's north, rain and snow around Opaskwayak Cree Nation near The Pas, Man., aren't helping conditions.

About 107 people from the local Bracken Dam subdivision have been forced out by the threat of floods caused by ice jams.

In southern Manitoba, recent precipitation should have a minimal impact, flood officials say. The Red River continues to drop and is currently 16.8 feet at James Avenue. The lower Assiniboine River is expected to drop to 14,000 cfs by Monday.