Flooding eases but ice jams remain

Albert Lea Tribune (Minn.)

Feb. 23–Just as the ice jams moved down the Mohawk River, taking flood waters with them, snow and colder temperatures moved into the region Thursday.

The Capital Region received around three to five inches of snow, Christina Speciale, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Thursday.

Albany County saw 4.8 inches in Knox; Delmar and Watervliet got 4.3 inches. In Saratoga County, Clifton Park got 3 inches.

“As you went south and west, the snowfall totals increased,” she said.

The snow might not seem like such a big deal for the half-dozen Stockade residents who on Wednesday voluntarily evacuated their homes as flood waters poured down their historic Schenectady neighborhood.

An ice jam at Freemans Bridge caused the flood but the frozen chunks broke up and the flood receded from the Stockade.

As the water dropped there, a massive ice jam upstream to the west at Lock 8 caused flooding in Rotterdam Junction. Police closed Route 5S to keep cars from driving into rapidly rising waters. Canal Corporation crews cleared the ice chunks at the lock and the river flowed. The road, a busy route between Schenectady and Montgomery counties, was reopened by midmorning.

No homes along Route 5S were evaucated from the flood-prone area.

With the river receding, Scotia police reopened Schonowee and Washington avenues and residents on Ingersoll Avenue in the Stockade returned to their homes Thursday morning..

Meteorologists were unsure if the overnight movement of the ice meant an end to the flooding.

“We did see a lot of ice give way in Schenectady last night and move downstream,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jennifer Vogt Miller said. Yet she cautioned the Mohawk remains partly blocked and moving ice can block the river without warning.

Union College geology Professor John Garver said the Stockade is not completely out of the woods yet.

Around 2 a.m. Thursday a huge ice jam by Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction broke up sending water rushing over the Vischer Ferry dam toward Colonie and Cohoes.

“But two ice jams remain up here, and one of them is at Lock 8,” he said, and there’s concern it’s blocking water.

Put another way, he said, “the front end moved but the back end actually stayed.”

“There’s a backup of about seven feet, which is pretty significant. It’s a three-mile-long jam and it’s centered on Lock 8,” Garver said.

The other ice jam is between Rexford Knolls and Lock 7.

“So we have two little pieces left over,” he said. “We’re not out of the woods but we can definitely breathe a sigh of relief because this huge thing has in fact moved on.”


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Waterways Council, Inc.