Cascadilla Creek backing up as ice jams form on City of Ithaca's northside

February 16, 2016 by Rachel Cera

Flood Awareness Week is next month, but Ithaca residents often see flooding hit the flat sections of town earlier in the winter. Today, the City of Ithaca's Department of Public Works says "Cascadilla Creek is backing up and ice jams are forming along Willow Avenue."

Ice jams create flooding risks along Cascadilla Creek. Photo courtesy of City of Ithaca.Ice jams create flooding risks along Cascadilla Creek. Photo courtesy of City of Ithaca.Two years ago, heavy equipment had to be used to break up large chunks of ice that were backing up water in the creeks that run across Ithaca's Fall Creek and north side neighborhoods.

This year's winter has been unusual, without a lot of snowfall, but fluctuating temperatures can cause chunks of ice to break off and flow downstream, and high water levels thanks to recent heavy rains mean the ice can jam against bridges or downed tree limbs.

We hear flooding conditions have forced Ithaca officials to close Adams Street between 1st and 2nd Streets near the Sciencenter.

Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) is closing all locations at 4pm this afternoon due to the expected icy road conditions later today.

Ithaca Police Department police chief John Barber issued a statement last winter reminding Ithaca residents and visitors to be cautious in area parks and waterways. "Please follow posted signs, and do not veer away from a designated path," Barber's statement says. "Ice that appears to be thick and safe can in fact be dangerously thin. Please keep clear of any body of water until the ice is completely melted throughout the area."

The extreme cold this weekend brought folks out to skate on the Cayuga Lake inlet, but keep in mind ice may not be as solid as it looks, especially as temperatures drift above freezing for stretches during the day.

Today, says the DPW, "the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent for Streets and Facilities are inspecting the creek to create a plan for reducing the ice."

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