Warmer Temperatures Begin to Thaw Kent Ice Jam

The warmer temperatures have brought some good news to the ice jam blocking the Housatonic River.

The ice has started breaking up, however, Kent and its surrounding towns aren’t relieved just yet.

In one week, the massive ice jam has gained quite the reputation in a town not often known for its January tourism.

"I actually brought my four children up to see it after school, because, you know, it’s a really cool thing about science that you don’t actually get to see every day," Molly Garcia, of Sherman, said. 

That’s the sentiment both for recent transplants and people who have lived here for decades.

"It’s one thing to see it on the news, and something else to see it in person, and you know how thick it is," Jim Kelley, from Woodbury, said. 

While people passing through are fascinated with the ice jams, State Representative Brian Ohler is at the mercy of it.

This week’s thaw is, overall, good news, but it’s a delicate balance, especially with rain in the forecast, he said. 

"We don’t want too much rain if this ice jam isn’t ready to move yet," Ohler said.

Water levels indicate it’s not ready to move. Ideally, a gradual thaw would push the water line up, lifting the ice with it.

Too much rain could cause flooding just north of the jam, and too quick of a thaw could be bad news both for Kent and for towns downstream, as they deal with ice and everything else that comes with it.

"It’s not just ice trying to negotiate things," Ohler said. "They’re fighting for space trying to negotiate with trees and debris."

If debris gets caught, it will likely happen near Lovers Leap State Park, in New Milford. That’s where the Housatonic River bottlenecks and creates a natural choking point for anything that wants to get caught.

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