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Officials preparing for ice jams and possible flooding as temperatures rise

Ice Jams
Posted at 5:52 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 19:20:15-05

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — As the rise in temperatures causes the ice to melt, officials are now gearing up for ice jams and possible flooding.

“On the West Branch of the Chagrin River, we've got some ice that is formed. It's been here for probably at least five or six days at least,” said Chief Robert Gandee with the Willoughby Fire Department.

When the ice in the Chagrin River starts to melt, it causes problems, specifically flooding that can affect nearly 200 homes in certain areas.

“If things start to back up, that water has to go somewhere, and unfortunately, it starts to overflow onto the banks of the river and into developments in some cases,” said Gandee.

Chief Robert Gandee with the Willoughby Fire Department tells News 5 though ice jams followed by flooding are common, people should still be prepared.

“Most of the people along here, they're pretty used to flooding. Some people don't evacuate,” Gandee said. “So people encounter some type of notice, you know, they really should take heed and go somewhere.”

Most importantly, he reminds people to not play or walk on the ice.

“There's a good chance you can be swept up underneath and you're not going to necessarily be able to find a soft spot and you're stuck underneath that ice and you're going to die,” said Grandee.

Though the ice is still frozen, the timeline is unclear when it will melt. So until then, they are communicating with the weather service and officials across the state to ensure they are prepared when it does and if it causes flooding.

“The best thing that this does, is it gives us an opportunity to make sure everyone was prepared for any type of a flooding event and preparedness is the key. We're preparing for the worst, but you know, hoping for the best,” said Gandee.

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