Ice jams could cause winter flooding

Posted at 5:26 PM, Jan 24, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-24 18:07:37-05

The arctic blast has finally ended its stay across central Indiana. While it was here, Hoosiers had to endure nearly a ten day stretch with temperatures below the freezing mark. On top of that, we also had dangerously cold wind chills. The frigid temperatures led to ice forming on many waterways. Now that we're well into a rapid thaw, some of that ice is melting. This could cause issues with flooding.

You may have heard about the threat of ice jams. While putting some grape jam in the freezer might sound like a tasty summer treat, that's not what we're talking about here. Ice jams have to do with river ice and our winter thaw. The warmer weather is leading to ice in rivers thinning and breaking apart into flowing chunks.


Those chunks of ice make their way downstream, but can get lodged together where the river narrows or obstacles, like logs, exist. That restricts the flow of water, and can lead to river flooding even when rain isn't a factor.


An ice jam was reported along the Wildcat Creek NE of Lafayette Wednesday afternoon. Additional reports of ice jams and flooding will be possible over the next week. The greatest threat is along the Wildcat Creek, upper portions of the Wabash River and the Tippecanoe River.