Ice jams caused significant headaches along the East Branch of the Ausable River

Au Sable Forks, NY - As the surge of water and ice approached the one way bridge off or route 9N, in the village of Jay that leads to the section of town, known as "Jersey", you could hear a thunderous noise.

This, was all thanks to a January thaw. Temperatures hit the 40s and 50s across the Adirondack's, coupled with moderate to heavy rain, the rivers, creeks, and streams swelled.

Leading to the worst ice jam for this small town, in some time. "This is probably the worst I have seen in almost five years," said Howard Drank, the chief of the Au Sable Forks Fire Department.

The spectacle drew people from their homes, and most told Local 22 and Local 44 News that ice jams are something they live with each and every year. Seeing people out looking for the surge of water and ice left Chief Drake with an unsettled feeling.

"Scared for the people that were you know. Some of the people didn't want to get out of the way, they don't want to listen," said Drake.

Roughly after 2pm on Friday, the water levels in the East Branch of the Ausable River began to rise. Quickly jumping from just under 4' at 2:15pm to major flood stage at 13.25' at 2:45pm. Chunks of ice, and logs filled the river and struck the one way bridge to the Jersey section of town, which was one of the hardest hit sections. 

"Jersey and Intervale areas, ice and water over the road. We do have a couple people with flooded basements," said Drake.

Fortunately this was the extent of the damage, and no injuries were reported either. But the chief tells us, they were ready for the worst.

"We have Upper Jay down here with their boat, and water rescue team. We had Saranac called and Keesville for water rescue too," said Drake. No water rescues were needed.

"We just reach out and make sure they are aware with what the situation is," said Eric Day, the director of Emergency Operation Services for Clinton County.

He expresses, mid winter thaws, like we just experienced is becoming more and more common.

"We say this every year to folks that live in flood prone areas. Increase your awareness of what is going on and what the conditions are and be ready if you have to move," Day said.

In a strange turn of events, the town's historian told Local 22 and Local 44 News that the last significant ice jam occurred exactly 6 years prior to this one.


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