Rainfall in CT could cause ice jams, flooding

January 23, 2019

With rain expected Wednesday into Thursday, it’s possible the state will see some flooding and possibly ice jams — which plagued the area of Kent last January.

“The Housatonic River — a lot of it is frozen pretty solid,” said Bill Jacquemin, a meteorologist at Connecticut Weather Center in Danbury.

He said the rain and warmer temperatures means it’s likely the frozen ice will break and some areas might see “ice jams like last year.”

Jacquemin said residents near water should be alert and keep an eye on rise water levels that could lead to flooding as well.

A snowstorm Saturday into Sunday brought snow, ice, freezing rain, sleet and wind to Connecticut. Following the storm were temperatures so dangerously cold, officials were warning residents to limit their time outside for fear of hypothermia or frostbite.

But the rain expected Wednesday, which is forecast to start after 4 p.m., will fall on frozen snow and frozen ground — meaning most of it won’t be absorbed into the ground.

Instead, Jacquemin said, the rain will melt the ice and snow that was left from the weekend storm and several inches of water run off will spill into rivers and streams and make them rise.

“By tomorrow (Wednesday) night with this rain and these temperatures, it’s not going to thaw the ice out, it’s just going to break the ice,” Jacquemin said. “We don’t often have to worry about that except in the spring.”

On Jan. 13, 2018, several Kent residents were evacuated from their homes because of flooding from the Housatonic River. Law enforcement had to shut down Route 7 between Route 341 and Bulls Bridge Road that same day. That stretch of roadway didn’t reopen until five days later.

The ice jam in 2018 took days to thaw, and was able to do so with consistent temperatures in the area of 40 degrees and a bit of precipitation.

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