Forecasters Watch for Ice Jams on Rock River

February  21, 2014

As snow begins melts in the Quad Cities and areas to the north, the National Weather Service and Corps of Engineers are keeping an eye on the Rock River. Hydrologist, Marin Stoflet, from the weather service office in Davenport, says there are two kinds of ice jams. Freeze-ups are less common, and break-ups occur as ice and snow melt. And she says the Rock River has break-up ice jams frequently. But that doesn't mean there will be flooding caused by ice jams.

 Ron Fournier, from the Rock Island District of the Corps of Engineers, says ice jams usually form near river bends and bridges. But river levels have been low in recent months. On the other hand Fournier is worried that in many parts of the U.S., ice on rivers and lakes is thick which could lead to flooding in places that aren't accustomed to it. He also says there's nothing practical and safe residents can do to prevent ice jams or fix them. 

 

Photo: Broken ice on the Mississippi River near Government Bridge, January 26, 1921. Photographer: Hauberg, John H. Source: The Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive