PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Layers of ice on the Allegheny River are building up and bringing about concerns over an ice jam.
Unusually cold weather earlier this week brought about thin layers of ice on the river in the city.
However, areas north of the city, such as Arnold are seeing thicker build ups of ice.
The National Weather Service estimates the ice jam to be five to six feet high in places.
Between the Tarentum Bridge and the New Kensington Bridge, the Allegheny River is thick ice with no signs of breakup, at least not yet.
It’s not a new look for the Allegheny.
Ten years ago, in February of 2004, it looked much the same, but that was upstream at Parker and East Brady. It’s unusual to see it this far south so soon.
KDKA’s Harold Hayes: “Is this kind of early to see it down here?
“For this time of the year, I’d say yes,” said Pete Dziadyk, of Arnold. “I recall back in the early ‘60s, ‘62 there was a big jam at Parker and East Brady. When it let loose, it came down here and I’d sit in my window. I’m only a half block away and I’d watch it go. They were like little icebergs at that time. I’ve never seen it that bad since.”
He took pictures on Wednesday of a barge trying to move north unsuccessfully. The skipper gave up.
Right now, the issue is river navigation, but there could – in the long term – be concerns about flooding.
“Obviously, ice in the river makes it more difficult to navigate,” said Werner Loehlein, of the Army Corps of Engineers. “Farther upstream, outside of the navigation pool, the concern is obviously it building up and coming down later.”
The Army Corps of Engineers is monitoring all this.
They say flooding is not an immediate threat in low lying areas, but the warm and rainy forecast for the weekend, coupled with the possibility of up to an inch of rain is cause for a close eye on the river.
“If that forecast holds true, we do see the river going up a few feet, but nothing approaching flood stage,” said Loehlein. “But, of course, we’ll be watching the ice.”