First Posted: 1/30/2013
WILKES-BARRE – No major problems are expected from the ice-jammed Susquehanna River, despite historical trends that the river is known to rise during this time of the year.
The National Weather Service in Binghamton, N.Y., is forecasting unseasonably warm temperatures today and 2 to 3 inches of rain through Thursday morning.
A flood watch was issued by the Weather Service for the possibility of flooding by streams and creeks through Thursday night. Temperatures in the high 40s will melt the 1-to-3-inch snowpack across the upper Susquehanna River basin of northern Pennsylvania and southern New York.
Ice has formed on the river because of last week’s arctic blast.
James May, district spokesman for Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, said the contractor working to replace the deck on the Veterans Memorial Bridge, known locally as the Pierce Street Bridge, has reported ice crashing into the bridge piers.
The bridge is constructed to withstand the ice impact, said May, but nonetheless, the crashing sound has caused workers to keep a closer eye on the river.
The contractor is not expected to remove storage trailers and equipment from Nesbitt Park, as the river is expected to reach just below 18 feet Friday morning, May said. Nesbitt Park begins to flood when the river reaches 22 feet, the natural flood stage.
The river will be coming up, but we’re not anticipating any problems, said Stephen Bekanich, Luzerne County emergency management coordinator. There is not enough snow on the ground to raise concerns even with the anticipated snow melt. It all depends on how much rain falls.
The river ice is not super thick, said Bekanich, and therefore should not cause any problems.
Records from the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center in State College, which provides the forecast for the Susquehanna River, indicate 29 of the 50 highest historical crests of the Susquehanna at Wilkes-Barre occurred in the first three months of the year.
Temperatures are expected to plummet below freezing Thursday night, slowing storm water runoff and lessening chances of minor flooding, Bekanich said.
Today: 58 degrees
Thursday night: 21
Friday night: 14