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How might late season flooding affect spring breakup?

Fairbanks, AK - Water levels on the Tanana River rose sharply over the weekend.  Extra water late in the season could cause problems during break up next spring.  National Weather Service Hydrologist Ed Plumb says that’s because of the extra ice that may form this fall.  “If the rivers freeze at a high level during the fall time, we have a larger surface of ice forming on the river,” he explains.

Plumb says that could increase the chances of ice jam related flooding when things warm up again next year. “It’s gonna depend on how much snow we have in the winter, and how cold it is and all these different factors determined how thick the ice gets too.”

Plumb says there’s no telling what might happen between now and next spring, but the Weather Service will continue to track river conditions throughout the year.