Photo: Ice on the Winooski just below Montpelier has narrowed the channel for water, raising the risk of flooding. Two high-tech sensors will be installed Monday to monitor the river for flooding as spring weather comes.
Feb 26, 2007
Nearly 15 years ago, an ice jam in the Winooski River caused catastrophic flooding in Vermont's capital. Now, officials are warning it could happen again and telling people to prepare for it. Sections of the river are frozen solid, triggering fears of a repeat of the March 11, 1992 flood that caused millions of dollars in damage. Engineers say it's the FIRST TIME SINCE RECORDS HAVE BEEN KEPT that the river in Montpelier has been so packed with ice in what is called a "freeze up jam". This year's jam was caused by unseasonably warm weather through mid-January followed by an extended period of bitter cold. Now, stretches of the Winooski are frozen solid with what experts call "frazzle ice". If the weather turns suddenly warm or heavy rains fall, it could be trouble. For years, the city left a crane parked on the edge of town, to be used to break up ice jams. The crane remains there, but it may not do much good this time around because it would have to clear solid ice from a mile of river.