‘Serious matter’ – County Emergency Officials Give Details of Luzerne County Ice Jams

WILKES-BARRE -- Ice jams on the Susquehanna River in Luzerne County are "a very serious matter" that "can change in a heartbeat," said Luzerne County officials at a news conference in Wilkes-Barre Wednesday afternoon.

County officials believe areas in the Wyoming Valley protected by the levee system should be safe, but they continue to stress the unpredictable nature of the situation on the river.

"The thing about ice jams is that they're very unpredictable, and the ice jam at this point means there will be very high water levels in Duryea, Exeter Township, Exeter, and West Pittston," said David Pedri, Luzerne County Manager.

"Since these ice jams are so unpredictable, conditions can really change at a moment's notice. You can see the river level climb three, four, five feet in as little as an hour, so it's important that you know where you're going to go and what you're going to do should that evacuation order come in," Red Cross official Dave Skutnik advised.

EMA coordinators said reports of very high crests on the river that circulated on social media are unfounded.

Check river and stream levels here.

Get the latest flood watches and warnings here.

Earlier in the day, officials closed the Water Street Bridge between Pittston and West Pittston as a precaution.

Developing story, check back for updates.

8 comments

  • Joseph Hobson

    Wait, why is the Water Street bridge closed? Is it in that much danger? And then just open it up without any worry that structural damage occured?

    • Bill

      The Water Street bridge was probably closed because of the flooding on the West Pittston side made it not possible to reach the bridge. There was water at the intersection of Susquehanna and Luzerne Avenues. I don’t think there was any fear of structural damage to the bridge.

  • Anita M. Peters

    I lived in Wormlesyburg along the Susquehanna River in 1996 when the ice jammed taking out a bridge slamming it against another, tearing off the backs of buildings that were in their path as well. Evacuate if your being asked to.

  • paul

    Well if I remember the last two weeks the river has been jammed up with ice and should have been looked at then but as normal let wait till there is a issue and then panic…..this one word proactive doesn’t have meaning any more

  • Burt

    I think I have a solution to the ice jam. If we can get Godzilla to breathe fire on the ice to melt it then problem solved. Godzilla…

  • Kablam!

    The old timers back in the day would have blown that sh#t sky high with dynamite. Why couldn’t the National Guard hit it with a small cluster bomb? Our society nowadays is a bunch of woosies!

  • Make Me Safe

    this is the funny thing about winter and near-zero temperatures. water freezes and we can see it on streams, creeks, and even creating incredible ice cascades from natural springs. so the ice is formed. then, here is the really interesting part, when rain falls and temperatures go above 32°F, the ice will start to melt and the running water will break it up into pieces both large and small. then as the water continues moving downstream, the ice will begin to build up into a dam. sometimes, the dam is so thick that water cannot flow underneath anymore and it has to flow over and around the ice dam. happens in the winter. i’ve seen this before. not a real surprise here.

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