Ice Jams and Flooding Being Watched on Area Rivers

Posted at 9:35 PM, Jan 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-29 07:25:54-05

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.- Areas along the Grand and Muskegon Rivers have the potential for ice jamming,which could cause flooding due to the recent warm-up and rains, according to hydrologist Mark Walton with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids.

Ice jamming occurs when ice loosens up, either gradually breaking free or letting loose with a big burst, pushing its way like a bulldozer.

Walton said  the snow pack is melting awa,y and we’ve had anywhere from 1/2 inch of water from snow pack and nearly 2 inches  as you go north.

The frozen ground doesn’t allow rain to soak in, said Walton. “That water runs off, gets into the rivers, and that causes rivers to rise. And if rivers have ice in it, causes ice to break up.”  On top of that, Tuesday into Wednesday could bring rain and thunderstorms, he added.

Robinson Township resident Kevin Charles lives right along an area that has been through this all before in 2005.

“Because I had been through so many other floods of inconvenience,  as I call them, I wasn’t taking them seriously enough. ” Charles said.

He attempted to leave his house, but his pick up truck could not get traction on the flood waters that had a layer of ice. He waded through the water and had to call for help. Volunteers got to Kevin, putting him in a polar suit and taking him to higher ground. “It was so bitterly cold at that time that everything froze solid; I  mean even, this happened January 18th, at the end of March, the carpeting was still frozen solid.”  he added.

After that flood, Kevin used cinder blocks to build his home up high, so flood waters would not be as much of a threat.

” I love it out here! I sometimes scream at the top of my lungs because where can I look out my window almost every day and see bald eagles or swans in front of the yard and all kind of deer?”

The National Weather Service does have web cameras along the river where Kevin lives so they can monitor the levels. People who live along the banks are encouraged to always have an evacuation plan in place.

If anyone sees an ice jam forming, they are encouraged to call 911.