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Friday, April 19, 2024

Ice Jam on Mohawk River Causes Minimal Impact as Flooding is Averted


SCHENECTADY ‍- Mild ⁤winter weather has led to a relatively uneventful ice breakup along the Mohawk River this year, according to Union College professor John ‍Garver. ⁣The warmer temperatures have resulted⁢ in thinner ice accumulation, reducing the risk of flooding in ⁢the Stockade⁢ area.

Garver explained, “The ice‍ breakup⁢ this year was‍ uneventful, partly ⁤due to ​the thin ice accumulation caused by the overall warm winter we have experienced. However, it is important to continue monitoring and evaluating how ‌the ice moves.”

As part of a pilot program led⁤ by the⁣ state’s Canal Corporation and Power Authority, ⁤a⁤ tugboat has been deployed to break the ice on the surface‍ of‌ the river, potentially reducing⁣ the ​risk of ice jams and subsequent flooding. The tugboat operates between Lock 7‍ in Niskayuna and Lock 8 in ⁤Rotterdam during the winter months.

According to Shane Mahar, ‌a spokesperson for the ⁢state Power Authority and Canal Corporation, the tugboat was deployed ⁤this winter season when the ice reached​ a thickness​ of 1 inch. It was then sent out again when the ice thickness reached 6 inches due to recent weather conditions.

“This winter⁢ has been ​very mild overall, with minimal⁢ snow and⁤ ice formation,” Mahar⁣ stated.

Despite the mild winter, a couple ‌of small ice jams formed on ⁤Friday morning, one at the Rexford Knolls and ‌another between Schenectady and Lock 8.⁤ Fortunately, these jams eventually released⁤ and did not‌ cause‍ water levels to rise to a ⁣point​ of flooding, Garver confirmed.

Garver⁢ added, “Warmer ⁣winters may mean that we will see less of an ice jam hazard on the Mohawk River on average. This is positive news ⁣for⁤ homes along the river that are prone ‌to flooding⁢ due to ​ice jam backups.”

He also noted that the last major ice jam occurred in 2018 at the ‍Rexford Knolls, causing ice to accumulate behind it for 15 ‌miles.

In 2022, the ⁣ice⁢ mitigation program and the tugboat were praised by the Stockade Association for their efforts in preventing ⁢ice⁤ jams and subsequent flooding.

Mahar emphasized that the tugboat is just⁢ “one ⁤tool in the toolbox” being used to mitigate ice jams. The program also involves collecting data ‍to understand how ice forms and the conditions⁤ that contribute ‌to future ice⁣ mitigation efforts along the⁤ river.

Kiara Thomas
Kiara Thomas
I uncover quirky and compelling stories. Always on the lookout for the 'why' behind the 'what'.
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