Ice Chunks Are Fascinating To Look At, But Can Cause Serious Flooding
The weather has been all over the spectrum in the last few weeks.
Record-breaking frigid temperatures and wind chills kicked off 2018, followed by temperatures into the 50s and 60s last week.
Temperatures plummeted to start off this week, and central Pennsylvania woke up Wednesday to a few inches of fresh snowfall.
A gradual warmup is expected into this weekend, with highs in the 50s predicted. The upcoming warmup has meteorologists keeping an eye on what the warmer weather could mean for ice jams in rivers and streams.
“It’s something we’re going to have to keep an eye on,” said Craig Evanego, a meteorologist with National Weather Service.
Evanego explained the warmer temperatures could enable ice jams to break free and move down rivers and streams.
He added that some areas in the northern part of the state are already experiencing ice jam issues on localized streams thanks to elevated water levels.
“With the gradual warmup, we’ll see if things will begin to thaw and move down the (Susquehanna) river,” Evanego said.
Senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski with AccuWeather said that thanks to the persistent cold, pretty thick layers of ice have been able to form.
Along with fluctuating temperatures, Sosnowski said river levels are a little higher, adding that another rain event is expected from Monday to Wednesday next week.
Sosnowski explained a major risk with ice jams is that when they break free, they send a surge of water down the river, which can cause flooding in unprotected areas.
Sosnowski expected that levee systems should be able to protect against any flooding caused by ice packs, and said unprotected areas are at the most risk for flooding.
Sosnowski encouraged those who want to go out and observe ice packs to do so carefully, as they can break away and begin drifting downstream at any time.
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