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PHOTOS: Smart car-sized ice blocks build up near Agassiz after severe winter storms

Ice buildup along Agassiz-Harrison stretch of Fraser River captivates nature lovers

Huge swaths of ice still rest along the shores of the mighty Fraser River that flows through Agassiz-Harrison. Uncharacteristically freezing temperatures not only shattered weather records that stood for 30 years or more but froze large patches of the Fraser River.

Valerie Pentz captured a particularly breathtaking shot of a field of huge ice blocks stretching across the horizon near the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge. She stood by just one of the mammoth ice blocks that was at least 7 feet wide and height-wise came up to her forehead. The photo so captivated Facebookers that it was shared nearly 250 times within 24 hours of her posting it.

RELATED: Agassiz-Harrison temperatures set records four times this week

A few photos of the ice blocks have made their way across social media circles. Sue Williams shot a photo of a thick layer of ice along the bed of the Fraser River on Thursday, Dec. 29, demonstrating that not only have the shores of the river been clogged with ice blocks but inches-thick sheets of ice made their way along the flowing waters.

Temperatures dipped down to nearly -14 C during a particularly bitter cold snap toward the end of December; with the wind chill, the mercury dipped below -30 C in some areas. Inclement weather not only threw a blanket of snow over Agassiz-Harrison, but that blanket was covered by a shell of solid ice as a result of a salvo of snow, ice pellets and freezing rain all in a single day.

RELATED: Fraser River freezes shore-to-shore between Langley and Maple Ridge

Though ice chunks are a common occurrence after cold snaps along the Fraser River, the river rarely freezes from bank to bank. For example, in late 2021, the river froze across its entire width from Langley to Maple Ridge at Derby Reach. There were a few deep freezes documented across the past 200 years of history, one of the earliest being in 1862. Back in the 19th century, the river froze from Langley to Richmond, 13 to 25 inches thick. Photos from New Westminster back in the 1920s depicted people skating across the river and playing hockey.

One of the more recent deep freezes was in 1962, when the Fraser River through Surrey and North Delta froze over.

– With files from Matthew Claxton


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Adam Louis

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