The threat of flooding along the Kankakee River caused by ice jams is always a wintertime possibility. Throughout the winter, County and local officials, the National Weather Service, and residents watch the river for changing conditions for possible ice jam development. While no ice jams have developed as of this time, they are still a possibility, especially as winter conditions eventually give way to spring and ice begins to thaw and break up.
To help reduce the potential for an ice jam, the Will County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) has begun utilizing a siphon system which draws warm water from Constellation’s Dresden Generating Station cooling lake. The warm water helps melt the ice build-up along portions of the River. Together with more moderate temperatures as the end of winter approaches, the ice conditions on the river are expected to gradually improve.
This is a period of changing river conditions. Even with the use of the siphon, an ice jam can develop quickly and cause isolated flash flooding with little or no warning. Residents are urged to remain alert for conditions that may change quickly. People are also cautioned to remain off the River as ice weakens and melts during this period of time.
EMA press release