2.1.4 Ice-jam floods

Floods caused by swift melting of ice/glacier.

Serious damages are caused by river floods caused by the combination between rising waters and ice movement. The ice movement is usually accompanied with jamming/fill up of the river bed with ice / or by the accumulation of intra-water ice, forming an icy barrier, which in turn causes an additional increase in the water level and the flooding of new territory upstream. Furthermore, in case of breach of the ice barrier a powerful wave is created that could flood the suddenly flood territories located downstream.

The jamming /barring/ of the river by ice occurs most often in rivers flowing from south to north /Oder, Wisla, Ob, Yenisei, Lena, Yukon and others/.

This is explained with the fact that the southern parts of the river free themselves earlier than the northern sections, in the course of which the moving water, mixed with ice, meets an obstacle of fully frozen sections. Ice barriers can also be created at the beginning of the winter prior to the complete freeze, when there are still sections of the river that are not frozen yet. Sometimes this type of flood can occur in lengthy rivers flowing from west to east /Danube, Amur/.

The origination of such floods depends on the climate and the physical condition of the river valleys. The freeze is lesser where the waterside is higher and steeper. The freeze is usually more severe in dams, in engineering equipment, at the turns and bridges, at places where the river has low depth over a long distance.

For such type of floods the estimated reaction time is rather short, requiring an obligatory and serious advance preparation. Since the locations of the ice jams will be known in advance thanks to long years of experience, precaution measures can be taken long time before the start of the ice movement in the river.

The elimination of the ice barriers is done through detonations or by using an ice-breaker, if possible.