Authorities in Emmet County are facing flooding, caused by not only fast-melting snow but also debris that’s clogged the West Fork of the Des Moines River. Emmet County Emergency Manager Terry Reekers surveyed it from the air, and says chunks of ice helped create the pileup near Wallingford.
It’s about a half-mile long in size and chunks of ice in the ice dam are over a foot thick, some of them 50 to 100 feet long. They’re catching on debris in the river and causing a problem. Between Spencer and Everly, there was water over parts of nearly all gravel roads on Wednesday afternoon. He describes water over Burr Oak Road and 420th Avenue, and says if it advances more it’ll isolate a couple of farms.
Reekers says up to now, they’ve been waiting and hoping Mother Nature will take care of it. If it gets much higher and starts flooding households and farm buildings, they may have to take action to break up the ice jam. They’ve been inquiring about various methods. Dynamite was mentioned, though he’s been told dynamiting such an ice jam really doesn’t work very well. It’s in the middle of a section of the river, so it’s also going to be tough to try and get any heavy equipment out there to break it up.
Meanwhile the DNR reported Wednesday that water on the Cheyedan River had reached a higher level than ever recorded before, but later announced the automatic river gauge might not be working properly.