Lessons learned from Lamoille River flooding

JOHNSON, Vt. (WCAX) The Lamoille River today is calm and flowing freely, but that wasn't the case nearly two years ago.

In January 2018 ice jams on the Lamoille caused flooding in the village of Johnson. A shopping center was partially submerged, flooding the Sterling Market and the town Post Office. But village leaders and the state are working hard to make sure that doesn't happen again. Emergency Management officials are requesting help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and hope to hear back next month.

Ice jams are a seasonal occurrence in the spring but can happen any time you have a winter thaw. As temperatures rise, running water flowing beneath the ice pack, along with solar radiation occuring above can cause river ice to rot, thin, and become brittle. Rising river levels from snow melt and rain can dislodge the ice from the banks, as it flows down river. It then gathers and jam along river bends, under bridges, and where the river narrows, causing water to back up behind it and causing a flood.

Dan Dowling spoke with Johnson Selectboard Chair Eric Osgood about what they learned from the 2018 flooding and how they are preparing for the future.