Warmer weather won't impact some waterways, will cause ice jams - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Warmer weather won't impact some waterways, will cause ice jams on others

JOHNSON COUNTY (KWWL) - There's not much water coming out of the dam at Coralville Lake right now, but this isn't the type of weather that causes flooding.

"The dam is here to hold back floodwater," said Dee Goldman, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Operations Manager. "When we get spring rainfall and stuff like that, water comes up on the upstream side of the dam, and then we release it through the downstream side in a controlled fashion."

Right now, the upstream side is covered with several inches of snow and ice.

While we have had a lot of snow this year, if you've tried to make a snowball you've probably noticed that you can't. It just kind of falls apart in your hands. That's because there's not a lot of moisture in this snow. The Army Corps says that's going to make a huge difference when everything melts.

"Believe it or not, right now we're in what is considered a seasonal drought," said Goldman. "We are actually below normal."

Therefore, warmer weather shouldn't cause immediate problems on the Iowa River, south of the dam.

However, creeks in Johnson County tend to see ice jams each spring, like many other areas in eastern Iowa. Those could start as soon as next week.

"It can pile up on our bridges and when it does, it causes backwater and potential for flooding to upstream properties," said Rick Fosse, Iowa City Public Works Director.

The city will work to make sure storm sewer intakes are clear to help that water drain and will keep an eye on bridges where ice jam jams tend to form.

When warmer weather comes, public works officials say you can help protect your home from flooding. If you live in a low lying area, shovel around storm sewer drains to make sure they're clear.
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