The USS Little Rock
© The Canadian Press Via AP
The USS Little Rock is moored in Montreal's old port.
The U.S. Navy's newest warship, the USS Little Rock (LCS-9), was expected to be well on its way to its new home port in sunny Jacksonville, Florida, at this point, but it became trapped in ice in Montreal and it may not budge until spring.

Commissioned in Buffalo, New York on Dec. 16, the $440 million warship was set to be homeward bound to the Sunshine State the next day, but its departure was pushed back three days because weather conditions on Lake Erie.

The USS Little Rock left Buffalo on Dec. 20 and made a routine port visit in Montreal seven days later, where it remains docked, according to the Buffalo News.

A sustained cold snap played caused ice to form faster than expected along the St. Lawrence Seaway and has kept the USS Little Rock docked since its arrival.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. closed the Seaway for the season Jan. 11, and normally doesn't reopen until March, according to USNI News.

A frigid weather pattern with several intrusions of Arctic air affected not only the eastern U.S, but also eastern Canada late December into January, said weather.com meteorologist Chris Dolce.

Ice cover across all of Great Lakes increased from 3 percent on Christmas Eve to nearly 30 percent by Jan. 6, or a period of about two weeks, Dolce said.

The ship has been equipped with heaters and more than a dozen de-icers designed to shrink the amount of ice accumulation on the hull, Lt.-Cmdr. Courtney Hillson told the Canadian Press. The ship's crew was also given cold-weather clothing to battle the frigid temperatures of their unexpected winter stay.

"Keeping the ship in Montreal until waterways are clear ensures the safety of the ship and crew, and will have limited impact on the ship's operational schedule," said Hillson.