Ice jams possible along the Rock River

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 12:26 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2023 at 12:29 PM CST
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa/Ill. (KWQC) - Ice jams are a common occurrence on area rivers across the QCA, and it is a concern along parts of the Rock River this week.

Ice jams are a concern from the early winter to late spring.

The NOAA Glossary defines an ice jam as “in hydrologic terms, a stationary accumulation that restricts or blocks streamflow on a moving body of water.”

Big changes in temperatures over the past couple weeks have lead to the ice along the Rock River to break up, causing an ice jam, leading to minor flooding in portions of Silvis and Coal Valley.

How exactly to ice jams form?

As warmer temperatures begin to break the ice apart on a body of water, the pieces of ice start to push downstream.

The ice can then become lodged in tight or curved areas, such as a bridge, causing a jam.

The blockage reduces the flow of the river and can lead to flooding or flash flooding.

Freeze-up ice jams typically occur early in winter and result in minor flooding. Break-up jams, the most common and destructive type of ice jam locally, occurs in the spring and can lead to flooding that causes significant damage to homes and property.

Three to five consecutive days of temperatures in the 40s or warmer lead to enough melting to cause ice jams.

Previous Weather Word Wednesday segments on Quad Cities Today at 11:

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Lake Effect Snow