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Flood Threat | Delaware River

Ice jams cause Delaware River to rise near flood stage

Dalia Ibrahim
Digital Reporter

Monday, January 15, 2018, 17:49 - The U.S. National Weather Service issued a flood warning along parts of the Delaware River  through late Monday (January 15) saying that an ice jam could cause minor flooding.

At  4:00 p.m. EST Monday the Delaware River at Trenton was 19.8 feet. The flood stage is 20 feet, according to the agency.

The local NBC news affiliate said the warning covers parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey which straddle either side of the river. 

SAFETY: Six important flood safety tips

It said the ice jam had already flooded some roads along the river and that the weather service cautioned drivers not to drive through flooded areas because the water may be deeper than they think. 

“It is some pretty impressive icing,” police Capt. Robert Lewis said Monday morning in an interview with the Bucks County Courier Times. “Right now it is pretty stable and the ice continues to flow south. But it is unpredictable at this point as to what exactly is going happen.”

Record-shattering cold has hits parts of the eastern United States this month, with freeze warnings that went as far south as Florida

Ice jams to the lower end of the river, where floating chunks of ice pile up on each other during a January thaw or spring melt, and the river flow slowing to a crawl, often turn localized flooding into an extreme situation.

The Delaware River Basin, which spans five states, is a vital water source for more than 15 million people.

The river is forecast to fluctuate near flood stage through Tuesday. As of 7 p.m. EST, 20 U.S. streamguages were reporting water levels above the National Weather Service defined flood stage. A state of emergency has been declared for parts of New England (see videos below).

Over the weekend, flooding due to broken ice jam led to the evacuation of more than 20 homes in Fort Covington, New York.

You can monitor warnings for your specific state on the ALERTS page of our website, here.

Flood Warnings for the following Northeast regions Tuesday:

  • Flood warnings in Maine: Kennebec River At Augusta affecting Kennebec County 
  • East central Clinton County in northern New York: flooding due to an ice jam along the Saranac River at the Underwood Mobile Home Park in Plattsburgh. 
  • The Flood Warning for the following rivers in Connecticut, Massachusetts: Connecticut River At Middle Haddam affecting Middlesex County Taunton River Near Bridgewater affecting Bristol and Plymouth Counties 
  • Southwestern Litchfield County in northern Connecticut: flooding continuing along the Housatonic River at Kent due to an ice jam. 
  • Another ice jam along the Housatonic is occurring at Lovers Leap near New Milford, with water backed up into Addis Park. 
  • Flooding was also reported along the Shepaug River in the town of Roxbury close to Hodge Park due to ice jams. 

Officials are unsure how long the flooding will last since temperatures are expected to remain below freezing through the week. Turn around, don't drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.


Video below:  A local state of emergency was in place Monday, January 15, in Kent, Connecticut, after an ice jam triggered flooding along the Housatonic River. Flooding had also closed roads in the area.

Video below:  Ice jams on the Saco River caused flooding in Fryeburg, Maine, last weekend. The town’s fire department posted drone footage on Sunday, January 14, that shows the extent of the flooding, which closed River Street

Video below:  Several towns and roadways were flooded on Saturday, January 13, after melting temperatures triggered ice jams on rivers across Vermont.

Video below:  Time lapse Shows Ice Jam Building Up on New York's Ausable River

Video below:  Ice shove pushes up onto Lake Erie, listen to the unique sound

Sources: Bucks County Courier Times | Reuters | NBC Philadelphia | Storyful | National Weather Service

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