Ice dam starting to melt
Published 12:00 am, Thursday, February 8, 2018
KENT — Authorities this week said the ice dam — 2 miles long at one point last month — on the Housatonic River had thawed significantly and running water is now visible.
“Temperatures over the past week, combined with some moderate precipitation, have allowed river water to finally push through the softening ice jam,” State Rep. Brian Ohler wrote in a news release. “This is exactly the scenario that incident managers and meteorologists were hoping for.”
The town will stay in a state of emergency until the ice dam melts completely or flows downstream, Ohler said.
Temperatures averaging in the mid-40s and some rainfall started melting the dam. Authorities had worried that too much rain and high temperatures would create flash flooding when the dam began to break.
Officials in Kent and New Milford have plans in place if low-lying areas along the river see flooding.
The dam last month closed the Kent School, a private boarding school on the river’s bank, for a week and flooded Route 7 twice, closing the road for several days.
Although the road closures constricted some traffic, several Kent businesses have said the ice dam could prove profitable. It has generated “ice tourism” and brought people from around the state in a usually slow season.
The dam is melting, but it might be around for weeks to come, Ohler said.
“It will, however, take a few more weeks of thawing before this jam moves entirely downstream,” he said.