Winter warm-up may cause shoreline flooding

Jan 9, 2018

Area rivers and creeks are chock full of ice - and with the warm-up coming this week, municipalities are trying to prevent flooding.

The Edward M. Cotter, for example, has been out on the lower portion of the Buffalo River this week, breaking up the ice from the Michigan Avenue Lift Bridge to the mouth of the river at Erie Basin Marina.

City officials estimate the thickness of the ice at 6"-10" and say they expect the fire boat to be ice breaking through Wednesday morning, among its other duties.

The National Weather Service says Buffalo expects to hit a high temperature near 40 degrees Wednesday, but 52 degrees on Thursday. It says a significant warm-up will arrive Wednesday through Friday morning.

"This will produce an extended period of melting snow, with an area of low pressure also bringing a few periods of rain," says the NWS. "The combination of rain and snowmelt may bring an increased risk of flooding, particularly Thursday night and Friday. The greatest risk of flooding is from ice jams, as the warming temperatures and rising flows break up the extensive ice on area rivers and creeks."

The NWS says another "strong cold front" will cross the area Friday, bringing with it potentially significant amounts of rain, ice and snow. However, there remains some uncertainty about the front's exact track and how fast cold air will arrive.

Credit City of Buffalo