Unseasonably warm temperatures may lead to ice jams

State officials say as unseasonably warm temperatures this weekend may cause ice jams to form, which may lead to flooding.

The Susquehanna River is covered in ice now.

But not for long.

As winter weather moves through the region this weekend, state officials say it's possible we could see ice jamming.

But what exactly is it?

"You get that large volume of water, it lifts the ice, starts breaking it up, starts to separate and starts flowing downstream,” John Cummings, Waterways Conservation Officer with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, said.

Cummings says once the ice reaches a restricted part of the river or stream, an ice jam forms.

That causes water to back up which can result in flooding.

"Areas upstream that aren't protected by the levee, and areas downstream that are low-lying, especially around bridges. If you get an ice dam or ice jam that creates that backup of water, those low-lying areas could be affected,” Cummings added.

Right now, the ground is covered in frost.

So water doesn't have anywhere to go.

That means those who live in low-lying areas may notice their sump pump working in overdrive.

"It'll puddle; it just be on the surface. It'll be on the roads, and actually it may come in along the sides of the house. And so, your sump pump could be overwhelmed,” Wayne Pisanchyn, a plumber, said.

So it's best to be prepared before the rain arrives and the ice melts.

"You need to make sure your sump pump is operational. There's a little float on the side, you can simply reach inside that pit, and just lift it up. If you hear it come on, you can release it again and you should be fine,” Pisanchyn added.

Cummings also says he doesn't believe the remaining ice will be thick enough for people to walk on this weekend.

So, it's best to play it safe and stay off.

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