One Year Later: Ice Jam Aftermath

From Kent to Haddam and other parts of the state, powerful ice jams clogged rivers last January causing big trouble for Connecticut homeowners and businesses.

It was unlike anything David Papallo had seen before.

“Nor do I care to ever see one again,” Papallo said.

In his 19 years owning Andrews Marina in Haddam, Papallo has never encountered an ice jam as intense as the one from last January.

“Snapped pilings, broken docks, high stress levels, low bank accounts,” Papallo said.

He had to hire a company to dive under the docks at the marina and use a chainsaw to remove some of the pilings snapped by the ice.

While he called the project very expensive, he did not disclose the close.

The January 2018 ice jam forced Haddam leaders to declare a state of emergency. It even crept into backyards.

The Coast Guard even came in to chop it up and eventually, the rain came. Business owners said they didn’t know if when the ice broke free, it would cause even more damage.

The ice jam caused $8,000 worth of damage to RiverQuest’s dock that’s now two-toned because of some fresh wood and pilings.

“Last winter was a little bit tough on us,” RiverQuest Owner Mark Yuknat said. “We do six weekends for eagle cruises and we lost three of them because of weather.”

Last year, RiverQuest was docked in Essex at the time, so it was spared.

“Last year if it was here (in Haddam), it would’ve been swept away and crushed,” Yuknat said.

This year he’s taking no chances and moving it back to Essex for the winter this weekend.

On the other side of the East Haddam swing bridge, Papallo is celebrating the lack of ice this January.

“I’ve never seen our basin not frozen in January,” Papallo said.

He’s hoping it stays that way.

“I’m happy! We get a lot less damage when there’s no ice,” Papallo laughed.

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