February 2, 2013

Freeze eases ice-jam worries

CHAMPLAIN — Cold weather returned in time to diminish worries that an ice jam in the Town of Champlain hamlet of Perry’s Mills would cause flooding.

The freeze overnight Thursday into Friday, said Clinton County Emergency Services Assistant Director Kelly Donoghue, “has relieved the pressure at this point.

“The water seems to be flowing underneath (the ice), and that’s a good thing.”

The North Branch of the Great Chazy River has a long history of jams at Perry’s Mills and also in the Village of Champlain, where a Federal Emergency Management buy-out resulted in the removal of several buildings some years ago after efforts to find a way to mitigate flooding there proved fruitless. 

Donoghue had the same good news to report on the Village of Champlain jam and another one on the North Branch that earlier this week was threatening a home in Altona.

Officials always keep an eye out for problems on the Ausable River in AuSable Forks, Donoghue noted, but an ice jam there had moved through earlier.

Temperatures rose into the 50s on Wednesday and continued warmer than is seasonable on Thursday but dropped below freezing that night.

“If we can just maintain the coolness for now,” he said on Friday. “It keeps the ice in place.

“You want a slow warm-up,” so jam issues can resolve themselves.

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