Ice jam causes flooding in Pemberville

Large sheets of ice are
seen along the banks of the east branch of the Portage River in Pemberville. (Photo: J.D.

PEMBERVILLE – An ice jam on the Portage River caused minor flooding in the village early this week, and
authorities are keeping a watchful eye in case conditions downriver cause more high water issues to
"We were dealing with that yesterday," said Brad Gilbert, Wood County Emergency Management
director, this morning. "Actually, it started Sunday night. We had quite a bit of ice jammed up
right in the village, right where the two branches come together.
"Sunday night, the river actually went up in the village about a foot-and-a-half in an hour."

Gilbert noted that there was little residential flooding, and the water affected only a few garages.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning due to the problem, he said.
Gilbert indicated that Pemberville Mayor Gordon Bowman and village utility and fire crews kept a lookout
on the situation starting Sunday night and throughout much of Monday morning.
"They were all watching it closely."
The ice, he said, was two to three feet thick in places, the height owing to the large, jagged shards.

"They almost look like an arctic moonscape on the river, it was so jagged and fairly thick."

Nature, however, righted the situation just before noon on Monday.
"Lo and behold, about 11:30 yesterday morning, the ice jam itself just let go and headed down the
river. So it was a good ending. Good timing. I think the warm air yesterday had a lot to do with
relieving the ice jam."
After the ice broke up, Gilbert said, the water in the village dropped by two feet over the course of an
However, a watch is still being kept on the situation, as some areas nearby are experiencing similar
issues that could impact the village.
"We’re still going to watch the river because there’s a small ice jam near Elmore," and the
National Weather Service additionally reported that near Oak Harbor "the river is still frozen
there," said Gilbert. "Hasn’t even broken up yet. So, again, that could become a choking point
at some point. I wouldn’t expect any backups from that distance to have a huge impact on Pemberville,
but certainly something to watch until everything gets flushed out."

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