Ice shoves draw crowds to the Oconto Breakwater

Ice shoves pushed up along the shore at the Oconto Breakwater, January, 24, 2018. (WLUK)

OCONTO, Wis. (WLUK) -- Standing at around 20 feet high along Lake Michigan is a one-of-a-kind winter phenomenon.

"It's amazing how quick the news got around," said Howard Lorenz of Peshtigo.

Ice shoves alongside the Oconto Breakwater brought crowds to the shore Wednesday. Including Lorenz, who says capturing the sight has become a tradition.

"Taking pictures," he said. "I've done it this year, and last year, when the ice was here. It's something to do."


Local historian Dick Doeren says the shoves pushed up Monday afternoon. He heard about it from fishermen who were out on ice at the time.

"That's how fast this thing was," he said. "I guess, the whole time was five minutes. Quite unusual, and this is early for it."

No one was hurt, but Doeren says for anyone who has seen a shove up close and personal, it can be scary.

"As that ice comes in, there's no stopping it, nothing stops it, and it's real slow and kind of grinds and moves," he said.

He says there is something particularly different about this shove than others.

"Normally, we'll get a shove like this on the end, but never to this extent where it runs as far as it did today," he said.

As for sightseers like Lorenz, he says it’s an act of nature that never seems to disappoint.

"It doesn't happen every year, so when it does, you might as well come and see it," he explained.

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