What are ice jams? The National Weather Service explains

NWS Cleveland

MCCONNELSVILLE, Ohio -- The ice jams along the Muskingum River are posing flooding dangers for families in Morgan County, Muskingum County and Coschocton County.

What is an ice jam? According to the National Weather Service, they are pieces of floating ice that are carried with a stream’s current. They 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 National Weather Service warned that the early-week rainfall plus recent mild temperatures could displace ongoing ice jams and lead to the formation of new jams.

Typically, ice jam flooding is localized, but families near rivers and creeks prone to them should monitor conditions closely.