National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
With the rivers low and snow in the forecast, the thought of flooding typically takes somewhat of a back seat in our minds, but, the winter season brings freeze and thaw cycles to our rivers which can easily lead to ice jams and serious flooding.
 
River ice with geese.
Ice jams are best detected by the human eye, and each year the National Weather Service seeks out volunteers to report river ice conditions during the months of December through March.
 
Ice observers will provide information on type of ice, ice jams, ice movement and ice break up dates and times. All observations will be conducted from safe, shoreline locations.
 
This information will be used by the NWS Weather Forecast Office in Binghamton, New York as well as the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center and the Northeast River Forecast Center in the preparation of river forecasts and flood warnings as necessary.
 
Ice observers are expected to:
 
1.) Be able to provide ice reports a minimum of once per week via a website (even if there is nothing significant to report) to document changes in the state of the river. Computer and internet access necessary.
 
2.) Provide updates of any major changes at their location when ice cover conditions change. We have a need for observers on all main rivers, but in particular, the following are most in need:
  • Oneida Creek
  • Cohocton/Chemung River from Bath to Corning
  • Canisteo River
  • Susquehanna River from Oneonta to Conklin and Owego to Waverly
  • Lackawaxen River
  • Beaver Kill
  • Neversink River
  • Lackawanna River
  • East Branch Delaware River
 
Please send a note of interest via e-mail no later than Monday, December 9, 2013 if you are interested in becoming a river ice observer. Send e-mail to: james.brewster@noaa.gov with your contact information, and river of interest.
 
Note: We are mainly focusing on our main stem rivers for routine ice monitoring. You can always report an ice jam to us on the smaller streams and tributaries through e-mail, Facebook and Twitter.