Will the rain cause more ice jam flooding?

Extreme Weather

(WTNH) — Road closures, torn docks, and a ton of ice. It’s become a common sight along the Housatonic and Connecticut Rivers over the last 10 days.

You almost have to be there to really experience it. The sounds, the creaking, the cracking…It’s extremely eerie and it’s dangerous as well. But, the weather coming up will actually help the situation instead of make it worse.Related Content: Residents along Connecticut River worry about flooding

All of these issues were caused by extremely cold temperatures followed by a rapid thaw and a ton of rain. Extreme conditions are the worst conditions we can see. Lots of rain forces a lot of water into the rivers, and that will push ice higher and higher, making it much tougher for it to melt. More importantly, it’d make things much tougher for the Coast Guard to break through.

Cold temperatures well below freezing is also a bad thing. That will solidify the ice even more by reducing flooding in the short term, but making it much worse down the road.Related Content: Coast Guard continues to clear up ice jams

Ideal conditions are what we’re about to talk about for most of the days in the forecast. A moderate rain storm like the one on Tuesday will raise the water levels up some. But, it will also allow ice piled up to spread out a bit and get shoved downstream toward more open areas. Temperatures in the 40s to around 50 are also great to slowly melt away the ice without causing too much water to back up behind it. Unfortunately, if ice does break loose, it can cause damage further south of the break, but overall, it will help clear things up much faster.

So, as long as we can keep a gradual thaw and don’t see a tremendous amount of rain in a short period of time, we should see these ice jams disappear pretty quickly along the Connecticut River.

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