Ice jam on Delaware River prompts flood warnings in Mercer County, Bucks County

TRENTON (WPVI) -- Fortunately the water on both sides of the river has receded, where an ice jam had caused some minor flooding earlier in the day.

National Weather Service said minor flooding was to be expected along the river in the Trenton/Yardley area Monday afternoon.

What is a spectacle for the rest of us was cause for concern for people who live along this stretch of the Delaware River.

But many neighbors here said as long as the nearby canal doesn't flood they feel relatively safe.

"You can get a pinch-point up in Yardley where the Yardley Inn is and floods there, and then it was down here and sort of creates an island," said William Nash of Lower Makefield. "So, last time it happened I think was 2006 and we were under a mandatory evacuation."

The problem that has developed here is quite simply an ice jam. That forces the current to accumulate in isolated areas.

As of Monday afternoon, the worst of it was at the intersection of River Road and Ferry Road in Lower Makefield. Local officials urged commuters to avoid the area.

"At this point, the river continues to be ice-dammed along the Calhoun Street Bridge so the river is unpredictable," said Lower Makefield Capt. Bob Lewis. "So, water could rise a little bit or even some ice flows could come up on the roadway."

However, many flocked to the riverbank to see the icy spectacle.

"It's never been this high before," said Mia Foster of Morrisville. "It's always been low, but with ice it's really high now."

Fortunately the water receded from earlier in the day, and no homes were impacted by the high tide.

And while a portion of the ice jam thawed, Trenton Water Works customers were being advised to boil their water as a precaution.

The NWS defines an ice jam as follows:

"Pieces of floating ice carried with a stream's current can accumulate at any obstruction to the stream flow. These ice jams can develop near river bends, mouths of tributaries, points where the river slope decreases, downstream of dams and upstream of bridges or obstructions. The water that is held back may cause flooding or flash flooding upstream. If the obstruction suddenly breaks then flash flooding may occur downstream."

The ice jam was first reported around 5:25 a.m. Monday.

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Chopper 6 Video: Ice jam on Delaware River on January 15, 2018.

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