WINDY BAY, Idaho --- Some homeowners on the southern end of Lake Coeur d’Alene are dealing with an unusual problem: recent freeze-thaw cycles have forced some dock pilings to pop out and float away.
One homeowner, Dennis Wilson, said he noticed his dock pilings appeared to be disappearing.
“I started hearing noises out here,” he said. “It’s very unusual.”
Wilson said he has lived at Windy Bay for 20 years. Despite its name, the area is normally very calm.
But now, dock pilings are somehow getting loose and popping out.
“I started just watching it come straight up in the water,” he said. “It came straight up, then just fell over.”
One of his wooden pilings was a goner.
“I just started watching it come straight up in the water,” he said. “And it came straight up, then just fell over.”
His neighbor was equally unlucky, losing three pilings as well. Around the area, other neighbors had their pilings bend at an angle.
A local dock company in Harrison said all the wild weather has caused the unusual piling problems.
Some bays, like Windy Bay, freeze over in the winter and ice gets stuck to the pilings. But when there is a quick warm up, the rising lake level then pushes the ice up and takes the piling along with it.
One employee at Harrison Doc builders said in his 23 years on Lake Coeur d’Alene, he has never seen anything like it. Around 500 pilings are toast this year.
“[I’m] in awe,” he said laughing. “It’s just such a different phenomena.”
Wilson was in good spirits about the inconvenience. He said he would have to hire a pile driver before he can install his seasonal dock.