Warming Too Fast Bad For Rivers

January 11th, 2013 at 10:47 am by under Weather

Ice Jam (Courtesy NOAA)

Driving downtown I noticed something that set off a couple of my internal alarms. Something that I hadn’t thought about this winter. Ice jams! The extreme warming will cause ice to melt quickly. Keep in mind that a layer of ice on a river is not the same thickness in all places. So, one place may melt quickly while other areas may have a much thicker layer of ice on them. This creates blocks of ice that are then cut loose from the sheet that held it in place.

The problem is an obvious one. The ice block will jam an area or body of water and divert the water to other places on the flood plain.

Ice Jam flooding Omaha, NE (Courtesy NOAA)

This is an example of ‘ice jam’ flooding in Omaha, NE. This can be just as dangerous as flooding during the spring or summer. It can also divert water to areas that may never have flooding problems.

So the warm up is nice but slow or gradual warming is a much better thing for area rivers and streams.

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