Friday, April 18, 2014

Niagara Ice Boom going for record

Lake Erie 04-17-2014 18:22GMT
Back at the first of the month, it was thought that the ice boom (which is supposed to come out by April 1st) would be out in a couple of weeks, but the extensive, deep ice cover and prolonged cold temperatures means that we may be shooting for a new record - latest removal of the ice boom.

According to WBFO, Paul Yu, the Chief of Water Management for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, says satellite imagery from Wednesday shows there's still about 1,000 square miles of ice on Lake Erie.  Yu says that they will be conducing low-level flights over the ice next Tuesday, during which they will hand-draw the extent of the ice coverage. The hand-drawn maps will be used to compute ice area.

The ice cover needs to drop to 250-square miles (650 square kilometers) or less before the boom can be removed.  The ice can only go though the Niagara River 10-15 square miles at a time so removing the boom too soon would just result in a gigantic ice dam, flooding the shoreline and potentially damaging shoreline property. Yu says that at the moment the ice is still pretty thick and solid, so it might not even flow at all yet.

So, as things stand - if the ice boom stays another 14 days it will break the record for latest removal set in 1971 - May 3rd.

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