Ice jams cause flooding concerns, road closure

(WTNH/Kent Pierce)

KENT & PORTLAND, Conn. (WTNH) — The town of Kent is now under a local state of emergency, according to State Representative Brian Ohler. Flood warnings are up for several parts of the state and the problem is ice on rivers.

Chunks of ice are forming ice dams and that has already closed a major road in one town.

The Connecticut and Housatonic Rivers all had flood warnings early Monday morning. Right now the biggest problem is probably the Housatonic up in Litchfield County.

Related: Route 7 in Kent remains closed following “massive ice jam”

Route 7 is closed right now in the town of Kent. Ice dams on the Housatonic River have sent flood waters onto the main road. That water has now frozen right where it was, encasing and trapping cars left in parking lots, and it is going to be a while before they thaw. Kent is in a State of Emergency due to the flooding.

Also closed in Kent is the Kent Boarding School. Classes are canceled for the day and more than 500 students were sent home.

In Portland, it was tough to tell in the early morning darkness, but fast-moving water covered Route 17A. It’s an area locals know floods every spring, but in January, it’s an unusual sight.

“It looked like everything was frozen,” said young Keira O’Brien. She is home from elementary school for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. O’Brien can see the frozen river from her home in Portland’s Gildersleeve section. It had been frozen solid, now it is clearly flowing once again.

“Under the ice, the water isn’t frozen,” O’Brien said. The swift current is obvious as chucks of ice slide by. Obviously there is no ice jam in Portland. With all that rain, and last week’s warmer temperatures melting the snow melted, the sheer volume of water has the Connecticut River overflowing its banks.

Switching to the eastern end of the state, the Pawcatuck River was also in danger of flooding, as icece gathering right on the Rhode Island border near route one right downtown there.

Thanks to Mary for sending us a shot of Silver Sands Beach in Milford. The tide washed up big chunks of ice on the beach.

Back on the Housatonic, photographer Sandy Schupper sent a drone up above a section of the river in Brookfield. It’s far south of the ice jam in Kent, but there are some bits of ice floating around, waiting to cause trouble.

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