Spring is getting closer every week here in the Binghamton area of upstate New York.
Last week, we were having lows below zero. This week, it suddenly warmed up.
Wednesday, we had a 52 degree (11 C) day. I exercise walked with my spouse in a light sweater on a local rail trail, passing grasses glowing in the late afternoon sun. Yes, the sun is another sign of spring in our climate. When you have a sunny day, and it isn't freezing cold out, it means that spring can't be that far away.
In March, it takes so little to make us happy. Each day this week, there was less and less snow cover. Less and less ice to slide on each morning. You'd think we would be celebrating.
But, at some point, the anxiety will begin.
One day, we will walk along the river and we will see incredibly large chunks of ice thrown up from the river, lying on the banks, sometimes some distance from the river. It's called ice breakup. And, this year, due to all our below zero weather, the ice is thicker than usual.
When breakup happens, there is one problem. Sometimes, the ice chunks jam up and block the river. It can literally happen in seconds. When that happens, flooding follows. And we don't have just one river where I live. We have two, the Susquehanna and the Chenango.
The Susquehanna is the most flood prone (due to ice jams) river in the Eastern United States - in fact,of any river East of the Rocky Mountains. For my readers not from the United States - that is a lot of area.
But the Chenango can jam, too.
If a jam happens, there isn't much that can be done.
It isn't just here in the Binghamton, New York area where they worry.. Way downstream of us, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they were monitoring the Susquehanna River weeks ago, waiting for the first signs of breakup.
If I can, I will try to get you some pictures after the ice break up happens.
Friday the 13th - let's hope it's a lucky day for our area.