Ice Jams

Clarks3 1-5-16Clarks2 1-5-16

Ice Jam Information Meeting- February 17, 2016 @ 6:30 p.m.

Region 44 Emergency Management in cooperation with Hamilton County Emergency Management, Central Platte Natural Resource District, and the National Weather Service-Hastings Office will host a public informational meeting on Ice Jams in Merrick County and Hamilton County on Wednesday, February 17, 6:30 pm at the Central City Community Room 1515 17th Street Central City, NE.  Residents, business owners, and land owners along the Platte River are encouraged to attend.  The goal of this public meeting is to gather and exchange information with members of the public and local agencies involved in ice jams and flooding.  Topics will Include: Ice Jam Tendencies and Implications, and Emergency Preparedness and Planning.

Left: Platte River looking upstream of Hwy 64 bridge near Valley, NE.  Open channel narrowed quickly.
Right: Flooded meadow below Hwy 92 bridge by Clarks, NE.  Ice jammed Platte River in background.

 Take Precaution

This year we are experiencing high flows and large amounts of ice on the Platte River.  Central Platte NRD hopes to aid in public awareness by providing the following information below:

With river flows predicted to be above average this winter, flood potential does exist. Landowners are being cautioned to be prepared for flooding, especially those who have experienced ice jam flooding events in the past.   You may be wondering why the potential for ice jams is higher in some years and not others? Ice jams occur with changing temperatures such as a hard freeze followed by a quick thaw. During the cold winter and early spring months, ice begins to form in the river. When there is enough ice, it will “jam” up the river and create blockages to the water flow. This forces the water out of its banks and creates a flood. Consider the following if you live near the Platte River:

1. Ice Jam flooding can occur quickly. In just a matter of hours, channels can become clogged and flooding may occur. Once ice begins to clog a waterway, the water can back up quickly. If you live near a channel with ice, be constantly aware of the level of the water. Be prepared to evacuate.

2. Ice Jams can occur from December-March. Although ice jams can occur whenever the weather is cold enough; historically most ice jams form in January, February, and March.

3. Flood waters can be deep. Whenever there are rushing floodwaters, roads and bridges can be washed away quickly making it nearly impossible to tell how deep the water is. Although it may look shallow, do not drive into flooded, potentially washed out areas. People have been trapped in their vehicles or have drowned when trying to cross moving flood waters. A good phrase to remember is: “Turn Around, Don’t Drown!”

4. It pays to be prepared. Build A Kit: Assemble enough emergency supplies for at least 3 days including:
• Water/Food: 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days; for drinking and sanitizing food.  Have at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food and can opener.
• Radio: Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
• Emergency Items: flashlight, first aid kit, whistle to signal for help, wrench/pliers to turn off utilities, cell phone and charger, inverter, or solar charger; extra batteries for all emergency items.

Family Planning: Discuss where to meet and a friend to call if you get separated. Make- an evacuation plan and practice it, a list of important information. Share emergency phone numbers with all family members.

Info Mtg Feb17 2016Be Informed: Learn about types of emergencies most likely to affect your community and adapt them to your personal circumstances. Make every effort to follow instructions received from authorities.

In an emergency, contact 911.

Emergency Manager information for counties in the CPNRD:
Boone, Merrick, Nance Counties- Thomas Smith (308) 536-4443 Cell: 308-550-1685
Buffalo County- Darrin Lewis (308) 233-3225
Hall County- Jon Rosenlund (308) 385-5360
Hamilton- Kirt Smith  (402) 694-5126    Email: 
Phelps, Gosper, Hitchcock, Frontier– Patrick Gerdes (308) 995-2250

Contact information for all Emergency Managers in Nebraska Website


Photo: Ice Jam Information Meeting held February 17, 2016 at the Central City Community Center.