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Ice volcanoes, steam devils and ice pancakes show up during Okanagan’s deep freeze

Ice volcanoes erupt all along shoreline of Okangan Lake in Penticton

Ice volcanoes have formed again along the shores of Okanagan Lake in Penticton.

An ice volcano is a conical mound of ice formed over a lake via the eruption of water and slush through an ice shelf. The process is wave-driven, with wind providing the energy for the waves to cut through the ice and form the so-called volcanoes. The liquid water and slush freeze and fall back to the surface, growing the formation.

Ice volcanoes erupted during last February’s cold snap but before that Penticton hadn’t seen them since 2019.

Most of B.C. is experiencing a deep freeze with Summerland breaking a temperature record on Monday at -22.4 C.

This broke Summerland’s previous record of -20.6 set in 1971.

This December’s cold snap has even caused ice to form on the Penticton Channel.

A video has surfaced of people taking an early Polar Bear plunge into Skaha Lake on Boxing Day.

Steam devils, a weak whirlwind over water, were filmed and photographed in Summerland and Vernon on Monday, Dec. 27. Cindy Whitford filmed what she called a polar vortex water tunnel form into a twister above Okanagan Lake in Summerland. The small twister moved towards Penticton.

The air is colder than the lake water, creating rising steam.

A steam devil is a small, weak whirlwind over water that has drawn fog into the vortex, thus rendering it visible. They form over large lakes and oceans during cold air outbreaks while the water is still relatively warm.

READ MORE: Ice volcanoes erupt at Okanagan Lake

READ MORE: Devils came down to Okanagan Lake

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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