Disaster News Network Print This
 

Maine on ice jam alert

As the St. John River builds up behind a 5-mile long, 25-foot-thick ice jam, people in a remote town in far northern Maine are concerned.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | April 13, 2005

As the St. John River builds up behind a 5-mile long, 25-foot-thick ice jam, people in a remote town in far northern Maine are concerned. So are many communities downstream.

“Water continues to rise in certain areas,” explained Jim Crocker of the Maine Forest Service, which is one of several state agencies on the lookout for potential flooding.

One of the most vulnerable places is Allagash, home to 270 people, though Crocker said it’s likely flooding will take out bridges rather than severely damage homes. “But there is still some concern for a lot of people,” he said.

It’s also likely people will be stuck in the “watch-and-wait” mode for awhile, he added. “It’s going to be a long haul. That’s a big piece of ice.”

When the ice jam breaks, the best-case scenario is a slow break that allows water to escape downstream at a reasonable pace. A worst-case scenario would be a sudden break that sends a deluge downstream.

When will the ice jam break? “That’s difficult to say,” said Crocker, as warm days and cold nights continue to melt and refreeze the jam. “Nature has to take its course.”

In 1991, a large ice jam on the St. John River destroyed a bridge, stranding some residents, he said.

It’s difficult to get information about people’s preparedness, he added, because that part of the country is fairly remote. “Getting information is not easy. It’s just way up there.”

Plus, it’s a disaster not many people understand, he said. “Ice jam flooding is so unlike other flooding. It’s creating this natural dam that is going to break. It could cut people off for awhile and they will have to live with that.”


Related Topics:

Solutions for flood insurance

How US flood insurance works

Volunteers build a Christmas present


More links on Flooding

Find this article at:

http://www.disasternews.net/news/article.php?articleid=2119

Advertisers:

DNN Sponsors include:

Advertisements: