Port Clinton ice mountain now dangerous on warm weekend

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PORT CLINTON (13abc Action News) - Ice mountains are taller than ever off the coast of Port Clinton. Dozens of kids climbed at their own risk today. But warmer weather and strange sounds have some concerned.

Postcard-perfect blue ice piles up to 30 feet high off Lakeshore Drive. That's drawn crowds. The ice is more than 16 inches thick for now, but this weekend that's going to change.

"A lot of people that come out here don't understand the currents out here and the way it moves the ice and breaks up," Sheriff Steve Levorchick said.

Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick has been here since 1985 and says he's never seen anything this extreme off Port Clinton.

"With the ice floes, and piles, no we've not had that type of situation," Levorchick said.

Rain, wind, and highs near 50 will soon make this thick ice dangerous.

"All it takes is one shift, and the ice could fall on you," Levorchick said.

"I think it's a bad decision for people to go out on there. Because, as he said, crevasses," Levorchick's stepson Noah said.

Friday's sunlight made a slick coating, but many viewers are worried about a boom, and not just from cracking ice.

"I figured it was an AREs boom," Levorchick said.

Another big source of the sound is this large-scale munitions testing going on the next few weeks, inside this firing range of ARES, just north of Port Clinton's downtown. A rep for AREs says that testing will continue, from 7:30 in the morning, to 5:30 in the evening.

"Develop weaponry for the military, and so they test the weapons here," Levorchick said.

One man even told 13abc he lost a window on his house this week from that boom.

That's not cause the ice to break. The Indiana DNR recommends eight inches of ice before taking a light car out. And these ice mountains are made of 16 inch slabs. Still, the sheriff is concerned, come this weekend's warmup.

"Our fire departments, Coast Guard, the deputies, they all end up out there trying to rescue people," Levorchick said.