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Freezing Temps Lead to Ice Jam Concerns

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Frozen chunks of ice on the Delaware River are leading to flooding concerns in Mercer and Bucks Counties. But should residents really be worried? A local expert weighs in. (Published Monday, Jan 27, 2014)

    Freezing temperatures are raising concerns of the possibility of more ice jams along the Delaware River.

    An enormous layer of ice formed on top of the Delaware River between Mercer and Bucks Counties.

    “I can see just visually, that the river is not that high right now,” said Simeon Cain, a longtime Trenton resident who has frequently dealt with flooding. “It has definitely iced over in the past.”

    On Monday, coast guard crews aboard two 65-foot tugboats broke apart giant chunks of ice along the river.

    "You can see the ice from bank to bank," said Scott Forester, Director of Bucks County Emergency Management. "But remember, underneath that ice the water is still flowing."

    Forester says there's no way to measure the depth or thickness of the ice.

    "Two things could happen," Forester said. "We could have a jam or we could have a restriction. At this point it appears that the ice on the river is causing a restriction."

    An ice restriction means the current is flowing beneath the ice surface. Forester says a series of warm days which would trigger a rapid snow melt would present the worst case scenario for flooding. However, with forecasts for frigid cold temperatures, arctic air and no rainfall over the next few days, officials say the layer of ice should stay put as water flows underneath.

    “At this point and over the next several days, it looks like it will be a very stable situation,” Forester said.

    Cain and other residents are still prepared for anything however.

    "It really is a waiting game," Cain said. “People who live, especially in this neighborhood, are used to the scare.”