Ice Jam Causes Flooding in Worland

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Following heavier-than-average snowpack leads to flooding throughout parts of Wyoming and one place seeing the worst of it is the Bighorn River. Evacuee Glenn Robertson says, "There's no reason to think that something like this would happen, at least to me. So I was absolutely shocked to see the over flow like we had. I mean it was just crazy to see the ice dam, it was nuts."

Residents along the bank of the Bighorn River near Worland, Wyoming woke up to a surprise Friday morning. Warmer temperatures and melting snow caused flooding. Worland Police Chief Gabe Elliott says, "It's probably a couple mile area stretch from where it first started flooding to where we're seeing problems,” while Robertson agrees. "I looked again out the window to see a rushing wall of water and very quickly I realized ok this is not normal."

For many people here, it’s not normal; as this is the first time they have ever seen anything like this. "Worland's been apart of my life for my whole life and I have never heard of this happening. I've talked to a few folks who've been here and lived here there entire life, 50 years, 30 years and they have never seen this happen," Robertson said.

The flooding has since subsided throughout the day. However at it’s peak it was 3 to 4 hundred years inland crashing into resident’s houses and infrastructure causing evacuations. "We actually have about 60 residences that we've evacuated. Probably around 80 people who reside in those residences," Elliott said.

Evacuees were placed in a community complex at least for Friday night, while emergency crews try to clean up the mess. "Residences are a key concern. So we're trying to sandbag, we're trying to put up concrete barriers in those locations, but first we need to move that ice out to even get to those locations," Elliott said.

Police are preparing for the worst. "The area's just getting larger and larger and further Northbound. So it's definitely expanding as we speak," Elliott said.

Although, in the end it’s all out of their hands, “This is strictly Mother Nature, no way prevent something like this and very little to do when it does happen,” Elliott said.