MUSKEGON, MI – West Michigan beaches shifted shape during a storm Monday, Dec. 28 that included sleet, freezing rain and high winds.
Shapes formed by mingled sand and snow look like something from South Dakota's Badlands, the weird rocks in Utah's Zion National Park or images sent back by the Mars Rover.
Instead, it's the result of just the right mix of weather conditions, said MLive Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa. The cold air was one part, freezing the sand particles and water droplets quickly. Another part was the wind and waves being strong enough to shape the sand and ice.
It's a strange cocktail, but not a complicated one.
West Michigan's relatively warm weather up to Monday also played a role, he said. The lake wasn't full of half-frozen slush, and the sands were still shifting.
"We didn't have frozen ground before this, so the sand could move around," Torregrossa said.
MLive multimedia specialists captured images of the strange sand formations in Holland State Park, Grand Haven State Park and Pere Marquette Park in the city of Muskegon.
Some sections of the beach were frozen over with a glossy, slippery layer of ice, they said. One section of the beach was covered with disks of sand, resembling a package of vanilla wafers scattered over the beach.
Pere Marquette was filled with drifts of sand and snow, and waves on Lake Michigan were growing in size on Tuesday, Dec. 29, said MLive Muskegon Chronicle Multimedia Specialist Joel Bissell.
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