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Ice Jams

Many area rivers have been running high due to snowmelt and rainfall over the last week or so. However, some are dealing with ice jams. That creates more hazards, including flash flooding when the jam breaks suddenly or the ice jam is created suddenly.

This image is of the Shell Rock River in Greene, posted by Amanda Allan.

Steve Kofron caught this ice jam on Cottage Row in Cedar Falls.

Ice jams are created when the ice that covers the river during the winter breaks up and starts to float down stream and then get “stuck”.  The jams can develop near river bends, mouths of tributaries (streams that feed into the river), downstream of dams and upstream of bridges or other obstructions.

The video below was posted to the Storm Track 7 Facebook page by Tom Wagner.

This morning. The Cedar River where it's crossed by Brandon Rd East of La Porte City. 3/15/19

Posted by Tom Wagner on Friday, March 15, 2019

 

The Cedar River levels at Cedar Falls has not gone down as you would expect due to a large ice jam between Mt Auburn and Vinton.

As of this writing, the jam is still holding a lot of water back. When it breaks up, it will release a lot of water downstream, so keep an eye on river levels here.

Ice jams are worse than just flooding due to the large chunks of ice that can damage even more building and trees… the debris then gets washed downstream with the extra water and can cause even more damage downstream.

River levels with ice jams can not be accurately depicted due to their random nature along the thousands of miles of winding rivers.

Eileen Loan

Meteorologist

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