National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Winter is rapidly coming upon us over the next few weeks, and we’ll need to River ice with prepared for ice forming on our rivers and lakes.

Because the condition of iced over rivers can only be reliably determined by the human eye, the National Weather Service seeks out volunteers to report river ice conditions during the months of December through March each year.

Ice observers will provide information on type of ice, extent of ice cover, ice movement and ice break up dates and times. All observations will be conducted from safe, shoreline locations.

This information will be used by National Weather Service forecasters in the preparation of river forecasts, and also the Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research Laboratory for research.

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.
  1. 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
  • Onondaga Creek
  • Fall Creek and the downtown Ithaca streams.
  • Canisteo River
  • Tioga River
  • Susquehanna River from Oneonta to Conklin
  • West Br. Delaware below Cannonsville to Hale Eddy
  • East Br. Delaware
  • Beaver Kill/Willowemoc Creek area
  • Neversink River

If interested, please send a note via e-mail to our Service Hydrologist: Jim Brewster with your contact information. You will be contacted to discuss an appropriate observing location and other information and training.

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.