ZANESVILLE, Ohio- The Muskingum County Emergency Management Agency is continuing to watch the levels of the Muskingum River as the ice jams begin to break up.
EMA Director, Jeff Jadwin, provided an update saying that flooding in Muskingum County is currently isolated. There are some areas that have been hit harder than others including Ellis Dam, Terrace Shores, and Riverside Park. Still though, Jadwin said there has been a drop in the river gauge.
“We’re seeing some reduction in the water. Up in Dresden it’s gone down considerably. The ice jam is still there. Some of the stuff that was at Ellis Dam like the boat has sunk. So it’s no longer there to see sitting on the ice. But we’re seeing some rise below the jam and in different areas the water is still rising.”
Jadwin said evacuations have been voluntary and he doesn’t know how many people have left their homes. He says residents should continue to monitor their property and be prepared to evacuate if needed. If needed, the Southeastern Ohio American Red Cross will open shelters to help those who may be displaced.
Jadwin also addressed questions of whether or not the ice jams will be blown up to help relieve pressure on the river. He says at this time, that is not an option.
“You have to look at everything. You’ve got to look at what’s downstream. If there’s jams below us. When this initially started there were jams above us. Up in Coshocton. So we can’t just blow up the ice jam and let the water rush down and destroy other things and cause problems.”
Jadwin said the decision is ultimately out of his control. The U.S. Army Corp Engineers make that decision and right now they don’t want to blow it up. Instead, they’re hoping the sun and the temperature melt it naturally. As far as when the threat will be over, Jadwin said, that’s up to Mother Nature.
Jadwin said Nashport, SR 555, and below the Y-Bridge are not affected by flooding at this time.