National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


The focus of a River Ice Spotter will be on identifying, monitoring, and reporting river ice in your area. Help us and your community stay ahead of ice jam flooding!   

Report Ice Observations: River Ice Spotter Form

Why River Ice Spotters?

During the winter season, flooding may occur due to ice jams. Unfortunately, ice jams are often localized and in many respects unpredictable. Information such as the extent of the ice cover, ice cover trends, and location of ice jams is very important for the National Weather Service issuing timely warnings to protect life and property. This information can only be obtained by visual observations from boots on the ground. 


No special qualifications are required other than being 18 years or older and living or working near the river and a willingness to report river and ice conditions. 

Reporting Ice Observations

A Google form is used to enter routine reports. For time-sensitive information such as ice jam formation, ice jam break-up, or flooding, we provide a non-public number to call that you will receive upon contacting us for the training information. Alternative methods to share ice jam reports is by submitting them to our twitter @NWSBUFFALO or facebook pages


How to Volunteer

If interested, please review this training video. Once completed please contact to receive a credit and to provide your contact information. 


Reference/Training Materials

USACE Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory River Ice Guide


External Resources and Mitigation Information

There is something you can do about repetitive ice jams before they start flooding your neighborhood. In some cases where a Benefit Cost Analysis proves favorable, your community may be eligible for a FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Grant for ice jam mitigation projects that could prevent or vastly reduce localized flooding. For ideas on mitigation projects, visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab, FEMA, or state EMA Flood Mitigation branch. 

Facebook: @NWSBuffalo