Bulkley River begins to form ice jam near Dohler Flats in Smithers(Deb Meissner photo)

Bulkley River begins to form ice jam near Dohler Flats in Smithers(Deb Meissner photo)

Bulkley River ice jam raises flooding concern

A recent arctic outlflow bringing very cold temperatures creates perfect conditions for ice formation

The ice jam on the Bulkley River in Smithers began around 5:00 pm on Feb. 11, and by 6:10 pm had backed up around a bend in the river along Rosenthal Road. Known as Dohler Flats to locals, the river runs along the road and is known for creating ice jams and flooding conditions.

A recent arctic outflow has plunged the Bulkley Valley into deep freeze over the past week

READ MORE: Arctic air mass to bring deep freeze to Bulkley Valley

An ice jam formed in 2016 at the same spot in the river, eventually growing to over 13 kilometers long, threatening 20 homes on both sides of the river. The nearby mill pumped heated water into the river to help melt some of the ice that year and help alleviate flood risk.

With temperatures expected to remain in minus double digits until Sunday (Feb. 14), nearby residents are keeping a close eye on the river.

Officials from the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako say that ice jams make it difficult to predict if and where flooding will occur. Residents should watch the river if ice continues to build, as water levels can change extremely fast.

READ MORE: Smithers breaks weather record from 1939

READ MORE: ‘Expensive, extreme:’ Environment Canada releases annual Top 10 weather stories list



deb.meissner@interior-news.com

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