Ice Jams Cause Flooding in Wyoming - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Ice Jams Cause Flooding in Wyoming

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MANDERSON, Wyo. -

Flooding that damaged homes in Worland and Greybull now threatens the entire town of Manderson. The small town is sandwiched between two huge ice jams on the Big Horn River.

In Greybull Monday, National Guard troops filled sand bags.

2nd Lt. of the Wyoming Air National Guard, Sheila Sells said, "Yesterday we filled 20,000 sand bags and our goal is the same if not more today."

Citizens, volunteers, and guardsmen placed sand bags around buildings and neighborhoods in Manderson upstream. They were preparing for a second wave of flooding, caused by ice jams on the Big Horn River. Wally and Ray Valasek of Greybull say the weekend ice jam was the biggest they've seen.

Wally Valasek said, "The river of ice. It was completely chunked from one side to the other."

The Mayor of Manderson, Randy Brown said, "We had ice jams moving, and they were moving 17 to 20 miles per hour, and some of these pieces are estimated to weigh 100,000 to 200,000 pounds."

Mayor Brown says the water rose six feet in a matter of minutes. He says no one is reporting damage from the weekend flooding, but there may be more to come. There's still an ice jam on the edge of town.

Brown explained, "While it was up, it stacked it on top of each other. Interwoven like a basket, and it's over twenty feet tall as an anchor, and then backed up behind that for a mile."

Upstream, a four mile long ice jam is heading toward Manderson.

The mayor said if the big ice jam breaks before the one in town does, the entire town of Manderson could be underwater. "If the front one don't break out, and the back one does, and it has no where to go, the town will be flooded," said Brown.

The school, the sewer plant, and the streets are lined with sandbags. All of the town's citizens warned to be ready to go.

Brown explained "Everyone knows if there's one big blast on the fire siren, pack your stuff and get to high ground."

Nine homes in Worland and three homes in Greybull were damaged in the weekend flooding. The Red Cross helping in those areas, as well as Wyoming's Department of Transportation, the Corp of Engineers, and the National Guard.

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