Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Al Gore...call your office

MONTPELIER — An ice jam in the Winooski River in Montpelier has prompted city officials to warn Vermont Emergency Management and nearby business owners of potential flooding.

But Montpelier's city manager urged residents and business owners to remain calm, even as they keep an eye on the situation.

"The No. 1 message is not for anyone to panic," said city manager Bill Fraser. "This is an alert and not an emergency. We're certainly a long way from any catastrophic flood."

The ice jam, which has formed in the area along Lower State Street known as Cemetery Curve, has caused water levels upstream to rise steadily for the last 48 hours.

Monday afternoon, the water level was 1.5 feet below the level at which basement flooding could occur along the north branch of the Winooski River, according to a news release issued by Vermont Emergency Management.
When was the last time this area of Vermont required a warning due to ice jams this early into Winter? (shrugs)

Here's your daily dose of education. The slush called "frazil" is what leads to ice jams. It sticks to everything...and builds up into hardened impediments.

UPDATED: WHOA...WHAT'S THIS? It's the Army Corp of Engineers Database on Ice Jams showing a state by state break out. It seems:

Vermont has no previous ice jam this early on record. The earliest previously took place on 1/1/85. THAT WOULD BE 1785, friends.

Montana had an ice jam warning back on 12/18/08. When was the last time they had one so early in the season? Uh...how about never. The earliest prior to this year would have been January of '94...as in 1894.

Maine earliest 12/20/08...previously 1780.
Illinois earliest 12/22/08...previously 1868.
New Hampshire earliest 12/21/08...previously 1835.