Lots of deep cold, plenty of snow, followed by some warm, throw in some precipitation and you have a recipe for ice dams breaking.
That, of course includes the possibility of flooding.
We are coming up on that exact situation during the next week.
Last month I recorded the first event like that I have witnessed in several winters here.
Amazingly I was inspired to take a short video clip of The Bitterroot freezing over in our front yard on December 9th.
Okay, by itself, that event isn’t amazing, but what I recorded the very next day is what provides the real value.
Missy says, “Ted, LOOK AT THE RIVER.”
Where there was solid ice around 3′ above the river bottom a minute before was now ice-flow slurry rushing by at 4 1/2 feet deep.
You cannot really tell the depth, but after the river, scoured of all ice, receded back to normal, there was brown snow/ice up both banks to around the 4.5-foot level.
It was an impressive show, and reminder to those of us living within its reach that the river can visit us with surprises … occasionally unpleasant.
Have a plan for the ice dam.