Ice jams, rising rivers prompt flooding fears across region
BERLIN, Vt. -
An ice jam on the Stevens Brook has residents of the Berlin Mobile Home Park on edge.
"Getting ready to leave because the water is coming up," Barbara Duprey said.
Time lapse photos from a National Weather Service webcam monitoring the Ausable River captured the problems as they started early Thursday morning. An ice jam prompted precautionary evacuations and schools to close in Ausable Forks, N.Y., as the water began to spill its banks. Within an hour the water rose about four feet, but receded as the ice flowed through.
In Malone, N.Y., an ice jam on the Salmon River gave way around noontime Thursday. Four feet of water has covered a nearby road since last week. The road is now clear. The jam forced the evacuation of 10 homes and some of those residents may be allowed home Friday.
"Right now we are going to do anything, not open the street, we are going to see how it reacts overnight with the cold weather and if it stays out of the road we will probably open Lower Park Street to traffic," said Rick Provost of Franklin County Emergency Services.
Ice jams were reported across the region. One of the worst hit areas is the Northeast Kingdom along the Passumpsic River. Ice is building up, getting very close to the bottom of bridges.
"The town stands ready and the state does with excavators in order to protect bridges. In the town of Lyndon that isn't necessary, but in the town of Lyndon and Burke they have been standing by with that," Lyndonville Fire Capt. Tim Nolan said.
There are also concerns in the state capital as the Winooski River keeps rising due to an ice jam.
"We have both police and fire in different locations throughout the city monitoring the conditions," Montpelier Fire Chief Robert Gowans said.
Other areas of concern are the Lamoille River in Franklin County, the Mad River and the Ottauquechee River. But there were some signs of improvement as the day wore on.
"I wouldn't say we are totally out of the woods yet, but we are approaching the corner and about to turn the corner," said Joe Flynn of Vermont Emergency Management.
Good news for Barbara Duprey who wants to return home soon.
"There's nothing better than being in your own place," she said.
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