COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ice jams are causing a serious problem in Muskingum County and officials are now asking residents to prepare to evacuate.
Tape can be found along the entrance to Riverside Park that reads ‘danger.’ That’s because officials had to close the park, as they do not want anyone coming close to the ice on the river. Officials say that ice is anywhere from one inch to two feet thick.
It all started a week ago Saturday when rescues began after the first ice jam formed. The areas affected are State Route 208 all the way to the city of Zanesville. Officials sent out a notice to the area asking residents to prepare to evacuate.
“The people need to be concerned that last night’s rain, this mornings rain is still continuing to run off and put additional water into the river. It’s still a dangerous situation. Don’t get out on the ice. We don’t want any rescues or recoveries from that,” says Director of Muskingum County EMA Jeff Jadwin.
The Muskingum County Emergency Management Agency along with the US Army Corps of Engineers are watching the river gauges and continuing to survey the area.
“We’ve had ice jams in the past but they haven’t lasted this long,” says Jadwin.
Homes along Gilbert Station are trapped between flood waters and the river itself.
“ODOT and the engineers have looked at the bridges. They felt their bridges can withstand the impact of some ice. It’s just a matter of how much ice would go down and hit the bridge embankment,” says Jadwin. “Everyone we’ve talked to is just let it melt away. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The video shows why the EMA is so concerned for residents. If you’re physically unable to evacuate your home you’re being asked to call the EMA or 911.