Ice jam causes Missouri River to rise near Ponca, NE - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Ice jam causes Missouri River to rise near Ponca, NE

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NEAR PONCA, Neb. (KTIV) -- Cold weather is creating problems on the Missouri River, between Ponca, Nebraska and Sioux City.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says an ice jam is driving the river level higher.

A hydraulics engineer said if the ice blocks enough of the channel, water will back up behind it causing the river to rise. That raises the potential for upstream flooding. The ice jam can also reduce river levels, downstream.

That's what already happened, this week. The river feeds some towns, and power plants, downstream. The river level has to be high enough to reach intake pipes that pump water to where it needs to go.

"So if the water goes to low, it's difficult for these water intakes to draw water from the river," said hydraulics engineer Kevin Stamm. "So subsequently when we saw the water going down in Sioux City, and it occurred very rapidly. We increased releases out of Gavins Point Dam to make up for that loss of water at Sioux City."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers visited the river in Ponca, Nebraska earlier today. Investigations are still on going.

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