Flooding caused by ice jams in a channel of the Platte River sent water and ice into areas just south of Interstate 80 along Highway 281 south of Grand Island last winter. The Central Platte Natural Resources District is using people to be on the lookout for ice jams.

The Central Platte Natural Resources District says, with the cold winter season, ice formation in the Platte River channels are expected.

Colder temperatures in the near term are going to lead to ice formation in the next few weeks. Rivers are running above normal flows this year due to heavy precipitation in 2019. If enough ice forms, it can jam together, causing the river water to escape the banks and cause flooding.

Once ice completely clogs a waterway, the water can back up quickly. It can occur any time, day or night. If you live near a river channel with ice, be constantly aware of the level of the water and amount of ice. Be prepared to evacuate.

Ice jams can occur from December through March. Although they can occur whenever the weather is cold enough, historically most form in January, February and March, according to a January 1996 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report, “Ice Jam Flooding and Mitigation, Lower Platte River Basin, Nebraska.”

Whenever there are flowing floodwaters, roads and bridges can be washed away quickly. It is important to remember, even if water looks shallow, do not drive into flooded, or potentially washed-out areas. Floodwaters and washouts can be deceptively deep and people have been trapped in their vehicles and/or drowned when trying to cross flooded or washed-out areas.

For more information on current flood conditions, contact your local county emergency manager. A directory may be found at:

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