Looming ice jam troubles Grand Rapids - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Looming ice jam troubles Grand Rapids

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When we got to Grand Rapids, trailers were carrying away furniture and doors were fortified with sand bags.  This isn't hype: people here are worried.

"The ice, if it starts moving, nothing stops it.  It just goes through everything it 
wants to."

That's Dave Barrett.  We first introduced you to him about a month ago.  In that time, 
the ice hasn't changed much but his thinking has.  Barrett's been here for 23 years and 
he rides out almost all floods.  After staying, he now has his things packed.

"Yeah, I'll probably be watching the river, waiting for the cracks and stuff like that, 
and I'll probably be leaving here by the first time it starts cracking."

The ice jam goes almost all the way to the bottom of the Maumee and extends miles 
upriver from the Grand Rapids dam.  Only a stream emerges for the geese to paddle.  
Today's quiet likely won't last much longer.  Ice jams come with a violent soundtrack.  

"Bout the same as a tornado bout like a train.  Like a train, then you hear the large 
cracks.  Then you just hear a rumble, a roar, it starts going down.  I've only 
experienced that two or three times, but it's a scary thought, you don't want to be 
standing down there when it goes."

Tina Hohenberger manages the Savvy Avenue consignment shop.  Since they've been in Grand 
Rapids, they haven't seen bad flooding.  

"But in 1959, they had 16 inches of water in this building.  The ice looks pretty much 
like it did in 1959, so we're just being proactive and stacking everything up on brick 
and moving a lot of it out."

All of that ice has to go downstream.  The Army Corps of Engineers said its likely Canadian ice breakers will be called in to help free up a valve in Toledo's harbor.
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