While snow and unseasonably cold weather has been with us much of this week, another concern is developing as ice jams are possible on area rivers and streams heading into the weekend due to the cold.
One apparent ice jam has already developed on the Manistee River near Sherman in Northern Wexford County not far from Mesick. The river gauge there has shown a nearly two foot rise in water since midday Wednesday which is backing up behind the ice. In fact, the Manistee River is flowing over North 11 Road between 14 and 16 Roads just north of Mesick and freezing.
Reports on the scene indicate there is 6-8 inches of water and ice on 11 Road in the Glengary area.
"This is an area that floods quite often and we've had to close the road," said Wexford County Road Commission Manager, Alan Cooper.
Because of this, the Wexford County EMD reports that 11 mile Road between 14 and 16 mile Road is closed due to the water over the roadway. The river is at 14.4-ft. and is expected to remain near that level until the jam breaks up. Any additional ice could lead to rapid fluctuations on the Manistee River over the next couple of days.
The road was closed Wednesday by the Road Commission and Emergency Management put out a warning on Thursday morning.
Officials are not evacuating the area because there are no homes around, but they are warning people not to drive over the road as they may get stuck. There is a three-mile detour to avoid the area.
"Not a good idea," said Cooper. "We don't know what's out there. It could be frozen and rutted. You could get stuck out there. You could go off the road. It's just best when a sign says road closed not to even attempt to go through."
This is not only for the Manistee, but any other rivers across Northern Michigan due to the rapid freezing conditions and cold temperatures could also develop ice jams. If you happen to see water over the road near any rivers, please report it to local authorities and make sure to never cross over flooded roadways.
Temperatures will remain cold for mid-December into the weekend with daytime highs only in the teens.