Ice Jam? Not a new kind of winter music festival, as much fun as that sounds. The only music is 6 miles of ice creaking, groaning, and loud shattering that is hopefully ice but is sometimes property. Spent some time Tuesday (1/16/2018) trying to document the scale of the ice. It is not something that is easy to grasp through words, pictures, or even video. Arriving home last night, the one word I would have used to sum up the day? Humbling. The scale and sheer, latent power just resting there was truly humbling.
The sheer scale of the blockage — just over 6 miles long as of Tuesday, Jan 16th, 2018 — is hard to wrap your head around. Check out the map below full-size to start to put it in context. Inset shows the CT river from Long Island Sound to Middletown, with blue shading showing the blocked up section. The Enfield Rapids are 58 miles from the mouth of the river(1) and about 6 miles from the Mass border. That means that just shy of 10% of the Connecticut River in the state is blocked up solid. Think on how long it takes you to drive from Bradley to New Haven, 10% of that length. Or even more viscerally, think on the last time you were down near the Connecticut River and imagine walking/running 5 miles along its banks and still not having gone further than the frozen jam.
From the Middletown side, as of 8:45AM, you could see the ice stacked up all the way to the bend between George Dudley Seymour State Park on the east bank and Seven Falls State Park on the west. Look into the distance and you can see all the way down past Haddam Island … it continues past there! For reference, those “little” ice floats in the foreground? The river is over 1,600′ wide at this point, meaning some of those chunks are over 100′ across.
Just past Haddam Island is Haddam Meadows State Park. This shot from the shore, i.e. from the parking lot, gives an idea of just how thick the ice jam has grown by this point. Almost three miles of ice is pressing down on this by now! Almost impossible to wrap your head around.
What about the East Haddam Swing Bridge? As of sunset yesterday (Tuesday) it was mostly clear of ice, but like an Ice Sword of Damocles, six miles of icejam is hanging there, waiting. Click below to see a full-screen, 360 degree view from out over the river
At the north end of the Haddam icejam, at about the Middletown/Haddam line, this timelapse gives you a sense of the scale of how much ice was just pouring onto the top of the jam. This is six miles of solid ice north of the photosphere, and you can see at the bend in the river all of this ice just stacking up over the 100 minutes of its duration.
A few more images from Middletown and East Haddam
More pics and video to come via updates to this post. There’s a few more images to to add along with some video clips. For more context, hop over to Twitter and follow @EWeather13, who lives right on the river mid jam and has been sharing incredible timelapses, videos, and still images documenting the jam and flooding.
Also, a special thank you to Dave at Andrews Marina for allowing me to photograph and fly from his property at the foot of the East Haddam Swing Bridge.
(1) According to Wikipedia, Connecticut River entry