Observation teams monitor ice jams in Kent - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Observation teams monitor ice jams in Kent

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Ice jams along the Housatonic River are causing issues in Kent (WFSB) Ice jams along the Housatonic River are causing issues in Kent (WFSB)

Snow fell in Kent as ice jams in the town remained idle on Wednesday morning.

Ice jams on the Housatonic River continue to cause major problems for the town.

Emergency responders are preparing for the worst and fearing that when the ice melts, homeowners could face flooding. Three homes have been evacuated and another 20 are on alert. 

About 5 inches of heavy wet snow accumulated on and near the ice jams.

State Rep. Brian M. Ohler‏ said there were observation teams examining for any signs of shifting on Wednesday.

"This river starts in northern Massachusetts and empties out into the sound but all of that water cracked the ice and the river began to swell," Ohler said.

Looking at the geography, the river comes to two 90 degree bends in Kent, so it is a natural choke point. The town declared a state of emergency this week.

"Given the flooding at the Kent School and in the south commons area we have four houses that were immediately evacuated. About 22 in the general vicinity that are on alert if and when they need to evacuate quickly if the ice jam breaks suddenly,” Ohler said, adding that the Kent School remains closed.

So far there hasn't been any shifting.

"The water level has receded so there is a gap of air between the ice shelf itself and the water flowing underneath of it,” Ohler said.

Looking at a weekend with warmer temperatures and possible rain on Monday, it could be good or bad.

"Good in a sense that it might be enough volume of water to break things up and move this ice jam south or it could be too much where the ice jam still remains in place that water will exploit any weak spots in the ice jam and it will flood that particular area," Ohler said.

"Yes, any kind of heavy rainfall by a snowmelt event could lift the river up and certainly cause renewed flooding issues," said Britt Westergard, of the National Weather Service.

In a closed-door meeting, town, state and federal officials gathered at the fire station Wednesday night to find a solution.

They say the ice level remained the same Wednesday night, but the water level has receded up to 30 inches, a step in the right direction.

“It's creating an air pocket between the ice level and where the water is. If we do have a deluge of water coming in on Sunday night into Monday, there is a buffer there where the water can rise without compromising the ice ham at all,” Ohler said.

With still weeks of winter ahead, officials know they cannot let the ice stand.

Efforts are underway to get it out of here and officials are exploring the options of bringing in machines even dynamite to break up and remove this ice.

Route 7 remains closed between Route 341 and Bulls Bridge Road because of flooding. 

To see pictures of ice jams, click here

Stay updated with Eyewitness News as more information becomes available.

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