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Published March 16, 2010, 08:35 PM

Ice On The Red River Can Be Dangerous During Flooding

The flowing water isn't the only water that can so damage when the Red River rises.

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

The flowing water isn't the only water that can so damage when the Red River rises. Ice can also be very dangerous. It can cause ice jams and wreak havoc on anything that gets in its way. Officials say that the ice this year is very similar to last last year, but they've learned a thing or two about how to prepare for it from the 2009 flood fight. Although the ice has melted on much of the Red River, there is enough of it still there to have officials concerned. There's the threat of water backing up behind ice jams and even as it breaks apart, the ice poses a threat to people trying to cross floodwater in boats.

Jim Campbell/Grand Forks Emergency Manager: "When the ice starts to bust up, there's ice chunks floating through there. It's dangerous in the dark."

But those ice chunks can do damage in other ways as well. As the river floods the land, the ice goes with it. And those ice chunks will damage anything in their path.

Kim Greendahl/Greenway Specialist: "Last year they did take out some benches and they do scrape up the trees a lot."

Officials are most concerned about ice jams north of Grand Forks, but they did learn from last year. Although there isn't much they can do to prevent ice jams, they did what they could to prevent damage on land.

Kim Greendahl: "There are certain things we need to take out, like some benches and downtown and down by the Riverside Dam, otherwise we know we have to let it go with the flow."

This is the same situation they faced last spring. But one thing that could set it apart is the expected cold weather at the end of the week.

Jim Campbell: "That would slow the runoff to the river and it would also delay the ice from going out also."

Greendahl says some of the worst areas for ice damage are downtown and by the Riverside Dam, since they are open areas.

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