Ice jams will cause major flooding not seen in 30 years

The Maumee River West of Grand Rapids, Ohio looks like a jagged ice tundra.

"Usually it'll get so much pressure behind it, it'll go over the dam and it'll clear itself out, but this time it didn't," says Lynn Ripke, who owns the Trucker's Paradise Diner on the edge of the river.

Frigid temperatures left the river frozen-over last week. Then a slight thaw shattered the surface into giant blocks of ice.

Some giant slabs of ice that were pushed onto shore were at least 13 or 14 inches thick, and when ice that large starts moving down stream, it's easy to get stuck, or hit a dam and start piling up.

Ripke says, "If it does get over the dam, it'll jam up below the dam, and then it'll flood Grand Rapids totally."

Ripke's diner was built on the edge of the Maumee almost 48 years ago. Lynn says he hasn't seen a jam this severe since 1982, and back then it caused major problems.

"It piled up behind our house here. It went up about 30 feet in the air, and went right over the road out here," recalls Ripke.

This ice jam has already flooded many yards and parks, and Lynn says the river, today, looks just like it did 1982. And more sub-zero temps are on the way.

"Eventually that ice jam is gonna go clear to the bottom of the river and it's gonna shut all the flow off," says Ripke.

Lynn says in 1982, the county used dynamite to break up the ice.

WNWO did speak with county officials, they say the Army Corp of Engineers is looking into the jams, and if fact, dynamite is one possible option.