Catherine Creek ice jam forces road closure
Water pushed a massive pile of ice on to a 150- to 200-yard stretch of Highway 203 just east of Union evening, forcing the closure of a one-mile portion of the two-lane road for about 4-1/2 hours.
The ice was three-to-four feet high, said J.D. Brock, director of Union County Emergency Services.
The ice was cleared by Oregon Department of Transportation crews who used loaders to move the ice off the road. This portion of Highway 203 was reopened at according to Tom Strandberg of ODOT.
The problem was brought on in part by warmer weather this weekend at higher elevations, Brock said. This caused the water level of Catherine Creek to increase, pushing ice downstream. A dam of ice was created, elevating water pressure which pushed the ice on to Highway 203.
Meanwhile officials were worried evening that another ice blockage in Catherine Creek might cause flooding n the vicinity of Birch and 10th streets in west Union. A number of Birch Street residents living along Catherine Creek were warned at about by emergency services officials that the stream might flood. Fortunately the water level did not rise after this point.
The danger of flooding along Birch Street appears to have passed because ice has broken up, Brock said.
See Wednesday's Observer for the complete story.