Ice jams in Kent trigger local state of emergency

KENT, Conn. (WTNH) — Not one, but two massive ice jams are blocking the Housatonic River, causing flooding in roads, homes and schools before that water turns into ice.

“It’s mother nature at her finest, she is cleaning house!” exclaimed Kent resident Jennifer Hobbs.

Hobbs has a front row seat to the historic ice jams. Her home sits about 100 feet from the river, and water and ice are already creeping across the road to her front lawn.

Related Content: How ice jams form

While about a dozen people were forced from their homes earlier Monday afternoon and hundreds of students at the Kent School told to pack up and head for safe ground, Hobbs is planning her escape route across the back field if the water gets too high overnight.

“In emergency cases, if we need to get by really bad roads, we can drive very slowly along here and exit out there. But if that floods over, we have to go north up the hill,” she said.

Fire Chief Alan Gawel with the Kent Fire Department will be out in shifts monitoring the ice flow Monday night along with State Police. They will be driving the riverbank, keeping track of the rising ice and water.

“We are continuing to monitor the river with visuals and we also set some steaks, markers,” he said. “We have dated them, time stamped them and make the measurement where the water is.”

Related Content: Ice jams cause flooding concerns, road closure

The ice impact has been significant. Flooded homes have been torn up further by ice. Wells are damaged, roads buckled, and more homes Monday night sit on the front line in jeopardy of being destroyed.

“We have pumps going currently as we speak,” Chief Gawel said. “We have gone out to assist people…They have their own pumps going.”

The fire department is asking people to self-evacuate Monday night. If you are in an area that is close to the river, spend the night somewhere else to be safe.

It’s easier to leave now than when the ice is swirling around your doorstep

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