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Delaware still flows, despite big ice floes


There are no homes upstream of the water gap until the village of Shawnee-on-Delaware, about two miles north. Walter Drag, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly which forecasts for this area, said pictures taken Wednesday "Look ...


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HARDWICK -- The Delaware Water Gap has been shore-to-shore full of ice, some floes reaching a half-dozen feet in the air, this week, but the Delaware River continues to flow underneath the ice, according to National Park Service officials. "We are keeping an eye on the situation," said spokeswoman Kathleen Sandt, "but there has not been any hint of flooding as yet." The Delaware Water Gap is a geological opening through the Kittatinny Ridge, which begins in northern Sussex County and runs almost to Harrisburg, Pa., and is what provides the name of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, a unit of the park service. The rarity of shore-to-shore ice jammed into the gap has drawn people to Kittatinny Point since this past weekend to take pictures, including during Wednesday's snowfall. Sandt said people should not attempt to walk onto the ice in the river since an individual ice floe can tip, dumping the walker into the water and under the ice. The extended below-freezing weather since late December caused long stretches of the river to freeze overThe quick warm-up and heavy rains of late last week caused the river to rise, which broke the ice cover and caused large chunks of ice to move downstreamThe river not only narrows considerably but takes quick turns as it goes through the gap. The depth of the river through the gap also allows water to flow under the shore-to-shore, non-moving ice jam. Ice jams can turn into ice dams, if the large floes get upended and pile up on each other, driving some pieces of ice to reach the bottom of the riverIf the flow of water is restricted enough, flooding will occur upstream of the ice dam. Sandt said the last time there was flooding caused by an ice dam was in January 1996. There are no homes upstream of the water gap until the village of Shawnee-on-Delaware, about two miles north. Walter Drag, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly which forecasts for this area, said pictures taken Wednesday "Look like the standard ice breakupNothing really out of the ordinary." He noted the forecasters in the Mount Holly office and those at the Mid Atlantic River Forecast Center, a separate unit of the weather service, are now aware of the situation. Sandt said the rangers at the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, which straddles the river between New York and Pennsylvania, report there is still solid ice on the river "for almost the 70 miles of their park." Although a unit of the park service, most of the land within the area of the river designated by Congress remains in private handsThe National Park Service, however, has planning and development oversight of that area. Drag noted that the river flow and depth monitors above (Tocks Island) and below (Belvidere) are mirroring each other by showing a gradual decrease in depth of the river, another indication that the ice in the water gap is not hindering the river's flow.   Bruce AScruton can also be contacted on Twitter: @brucescrutonNJH or by phone: 973-383-1224.     (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); More In News News Glass recycling plant planned in Andover Twp. News Fair committee pays tribute to sponsors Police & Courts Doctor charged in ?ski rage' incident heading to trial

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