EMA directors watch ice jams as temperatures rise

CASS COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – It’s a sight you do not see every day. A river at a stand still, frozen. It’s the scene on a section of the Wabash River between Cass and Carroll counties.

“Now, we have approximately a five to six mile long ice jam, from basically the Carrollton Bridge in Carroll County to east of the Georgetown Bridge, that is here in Cass County,” said EMA Director of Cass County Alvin Beckman.

He said the ice jam developed earlier this month and caused some Cass County residents to evacuate their homes. The ice broke itself up, but got stuck down the river in Carroll County.

Beckman and Carroll County EMA Director Dana Jeffries are watching the ice and the weather. They hope a temperature warm-up is gradual, so all the ice does not melt at once.

“Right now with the snow melting there is probably three inches of water on the ground, just in snow,” Jeffries said. “Then, you put three inches of rain on top of that, along with the ground being frozen as hard as it is, there is no where for it to go.”

“I am as ready for spring as anybody is, but at this point with what we are dealing with I’d much rather see cooler temperatures for a little bit longer and gradually build up,” Beckman said.

In Logansport, there is another ice jam developing on the Eel River. That river drains into the Wabash River, meaning more ice could come to the Wabash.

“If that breaks free that goes down and connects to the ice jam we have to the west, that’s going to exacerbate the situation even more,” Beckman said.

Because of warmer temperatures, melting snow and some rain in the forecast Beckman and Jeffries are expecting at least some flooding. They said the severity of the flooding will be determined by the speed at which the ice jam melts.

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