WYOMING — According to the National Weather Service in Riverton, ice jam flooding is possible along Big Horn and Shoshone Rivers during the middle to late next week.
The main channels of the Big Horn and Shoshone Rivers are expected to completely freeze by the middle of next week.
The thickness of the ice will be noticeably greater by next week as well.
Fluctuations in basin temperatures throughout next week will cause ice in rivers to alternately freeze and thaw. As the river ice thaws, thick slabs of ice will begin to move downstream.
The slabs of ice may eventually dam up–especially near man-made obstructions like bridges and irrigation headgates. Sharp bends in the river are also areas that moving slabs of ice may pile up and cause elevated river levels.
Cities and towns along the Big Horn and Shoshone Rivers that could have problems with flooding due to ice jams include Worland, Manderson, Greybull, and Lovell.
River ice is very unpredictable and may move and jam with little notice. Any ice jam can cause flooding, as the ice dams the river, causing rapid increases in river levels in a short period of time.
People living near the Big Horn and Shoshone Rivers should monitor the situation closely. By next week and be ready to move to higher ground if flooding occurs.