Flooding, ice jams prompt state of emergency in Haddam - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Flooding, ice jams prompt state of emergency in Haddam

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The Coast Guard has been working to cut up the ice along the CT River (WFSB) The Coast Guard has been working to cut up the ice along the CT River (WFSB)
The ice jam as seen in Haddam Neck. (Neal Perron/iWitness) The ice jam as seen in Haddam Neck. (Neal Perron/iWitness)
People traveled to Haddam to view the ice jams along the Connecticut River. (WFSB) People traveled to Haddam to view the ice jams along the Connecticut River. (WFSB)
HADDAM, CT (WFSB) -

Town officials in Haddam declared a state of emergency on Thursday as a result of the flooding and potential future flooding.

The declaration was made on Wednesday night as a precaution, first selectman Lizz Milardo said.

"No one has really dealt with in recent history where is the water and the ice going to go for damage, so we’re fearful," Milardo said. "We’re fearful for homes and the additional property damage that’s there."

The order mandates people to leave their homes and allows the town to apply for federal aid.

She said with so many unknowns, it's not clear what kind of damage ice jams in the Connecticut River may cause to properties.

At least one home is flooded so far.

Milardo is hoping Haddam and other towns can join together to seek federal funds from FEMA. She said flood insurance can only cover so much.

She said the water has receded quite a bit; however, ice jams potentially causing further flooding are a concern. This as temperatures are expected to climb toward the 50 degree mark by Sunday. The melting ice could raise levels again.

The fire department, along with other emergency officials, said they are trying to be proactive, not reactive, for when the ice breaks. They're making plans of action.

Two U.S. Coast Guard cutters were in the process of trying to break the ice on Thursday, after one earlier this week could not make it there. The hope is that they can carry the ice down into Long Island Sound.

"We’re running into ice that’s about 3 feet thick in some spots so while we can break that our progress is really slow. The ice just jammed up and backed up so much that it’s beyond our capacity but we’re still breaking through especially working with the Bollard," said third class Petty Officer Rees O'Donnell.

The cutters left from Essex.

The first stretch of ice north of Essex is 2.5 miles long, and the ice jam north of the Haddam bridge is 4.5 miles long.

“It’s really interesting to see just the way the ice forms up and builds the giant walls you’ve got trees out there that we’re trying to avoid in the ice and not get run over it’s pretty crazy to look at,” O’Donnell said.

Milardo said the U.S. Coast Guard won’t get to the ice jam in Haddam until Saturday.

“No one has really dealt with in recent history where is the water and the ice going to go for damage so we’re fearful, we’re fearful for homes and the additional property damage that’s there,” Milardo said.

Officials also warned people on Wednesday to stay off of private property when it comes to viewing the ice jams.

In addition to trespassing, they called it dangerous.

See more photos of ice jams across the state here.

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