All Weather News

Ice Jam

11 Jan 2014, 3:33 pm

The northeast has seen several snow days this Winter, with the most recent coming from the nor’easter that moved through just after New Years Day.  With the arctic outbreak that came out earlier in the week, temperatures were trending below normal but now milder air has been returning into the area this weekend.



With a storm system approaching from the Midwest, warm & moist air has been pushed up the eastern seaboard, driving temperatures up quite a bit in the past 24 hours, from this Saturday to yesterday (Friday).


The area went from having temperatures in the teens to 40s on Friday, with a wintry mix, snow and rain coming down to warmer temps on Saturday with a chance of thunderstorms, as the system was approaching.

Temps were already starting off on the mild side Saturday morning, with morning lows in the 30s to 40s.

And as of the midday hours, temps were trending a good 10-25° warmer than where they were midday on Friday.



So with the warmer temps, the recent snow pack has started to melt, and so has the ice covered rivers and streams in the area.  The snow pack covers much of the region, with the exception of coastal Cape Cod, and down the RI/CT/NY coast to NJ.


As the ice on the rivers begins to break up, it can float downstream and clog up outlets of the waterways, creating a potential of flooding.  There are already several river gauges that are showing their rivers rising to near flood state, if not already experiencing some sort of flooding.  Rivers such as the Hoosic River, near Hoosick Falls, NY is at a moderate flood stage, as well as the nearby Walloomsac River near North Bennington, MA.


In addition to the warmth coming up into the Northeast, there is also the heavy rain potentially to come down in the area, which would help to accelerate the snow pack to melt, as well as add more water to run off into the rivers.  Along the coast, there could be between half an inch and one and a half inches.  Further inland, less rain is to come down, but still, it’ll be an issue for runoff.


There have been numerous counties placed under a Flood Watch across the Northeast through the weekend.  Just about all of the area is under the flood watch, with big cities such as NYC, Philadelphia, Syracuse, Burlington and Washington DC in that zone.



Some of the rivers have already had ice breaking up and flowing downstream.  Near Trenton, NJ, the Delaware River has large ice slabs flowing along.



The ice chucks on the Hudson River, between New Jersey and NYC, have diminished in numbers but can still be seen floating along in the shadow of the NJ shoreline.

From WGRZ-TV, our affiliate in Buffalo, NY, we see this image of construction equipment being used to clear away ice from the shores of the Ellicott Creek.


The Ellicott Creek flows into the Niagara River, which goes over the Niagara Falls.  Earlier today, we could see the advection fog covering the base of the falls where the river below has ice covering most of it. The advection fog was caused by the horizontal movement of the warm moist air pushing up from the south, over the colder surface.



Check out this great video HERE from Local 21 CBS News, WHP Harrisburg (PA), where Chief Meteorologist Tom Russell was demonstrating the power of the flow of ice on the Susquehanna River.  You can see the ice flowing fiercely up on shore and watch the tree in the background slowly getting pushed down!  If you turn the sound up, you can hear the ice pieces grinding together.


Stay warm, stay safe out there and stay clear from any icy rivers.  It may be tempting to walk along them or hop on the ice chucks, but as the video above shows, it isn’t the wisest choice.

Meteorologist Addison Green ~ Twitter: @agreenWNTV

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.