Observations from this afternoon confirmed a major ice jam along the Delaware River near Trenton, and concern is rising for flooding potential along and near the river and its banks as the ice melts. Water levels have risen over 7 feet since last night. Latest reports suggest initial flooding occurred this afternoon near Market Street and Route 29. The National Weather Service has issued Flash Flood Warnings along the Delaware River from Trenton southward to Philadelphia for the potential of river flooding. The warnings continue through the morning hours on Thursday January 9th.
An ice jam occurs when pieces of floating ice, carried with the stream’s current, accumulate at an obstruction to the streams flow. The ice cams can develop near river bends, banks, mouths, or even points where the slope of the river decreases. The water held back can rise rapidly and cause significant flooding. Moreoever, if the obstruction breaks suddenly, flash flooding can rapidly occur downstream. This is the concern of forecasters this evening.
Rising temperatures over the next day or so cause concern for multiple flood issues along the Delaware River and new flood forecasts suggest a high potential that the river will reach flood stage of 20 feet in the flash flood warning area. Reports from throughout the area continue to suggest that ice is rising and in some cases even cresting over the river banks, causing damage to some homes and buildings near the river. A few things to remember in this situation:
1) Flash flooding is a serious concern. Be prepared if you live near or along the river for flooding potential and have a plan in place for what your actions will be should there be a flood. Also prepare for ice to come ashore if you live very close to the river.
2) Do not step on the ice or attempt to cross any part of the river which appears to be frozen over. River ice is extremely unstable and the situation is extremely delicate. It would be a foolish decision to toy around with such a dangerous situation.
3) Stay alert for future flash flood information and further forecasts. We’ll have the latest information as soon as it becomes available.