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Breaking the Ice
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) With warmer temperatures just around the corner, there are concerns about a massive melt after a winter thats frozen area rivers and streams. There have already been chunks of ice floating down the Cedar River, and there could be more.
If those pieces of ice get caught up on bridges or bends in the river, it makes it a lot harder for water to pass through, causing flooding. But the preparation for the melt thats coming started when that snow was still falling back in December.
"We've been preparing for the last couple of months knowing that there's the possibility of ice jams, said City of Cedar Rapids Communications Division Manager Maria Johnson. So we get departments together from public works, utilities, police and fire."
Thats supplemented with people who handle technology and finances, all to make sure that the city is ready to act if the ice chunks cause problems. Most of those issues are normally to the north, before the river actually reaches downtown.
"What we see typically is upstream of the rail bridge, that's where we'll have some ice damming, if it happens, said Cedar Rapids Water Utility Plant Manager Tariq Balouch.
Which can cause problems near the boathouses and in Manhattan Park.
The problem downriver is chunks of ice like this one getting caught up on bridges that connect one half of Cedar Rapids to the other.
Even areas south of the bridges still can see damage where the water bends.
"The river curves and where ever you have a curve in the river, that's where the ice jams can happen, said Cedar Rapids Public Works Manager Craig Hanson.
With so many places, both natural and man-made, that can create a bottleneck, the city say the best way to hand the jams is to react to them as quickly as possible instead of trying to guess where blockages might build up.
"The unpredictability of ice movement is a challenge for us, said Balouch.
"You have no idea until it really goes out and anything other than that is just rolling your dice or pure guessing, said Hanson.
The city says the best way to help and stay safe is to just stay away if you see an area thats started to flood. Thats so that city crews can get to the problem areas as quickly as possible.
The city says the best way to help and stay safe is to just stay away if you see an area thats started to flood. Thats so that city crews can get to those problem areas as quickly as possible.