Next week could produce ice jams and possible flooding along the Kankakee River, area flood management officials have warned.

"Residents and others near the river should make plans to move to higher ground with little or no warning in the event that an ice jam forms in your area," said a statement issued by Jim Lutz, Grundy County emergency management director.

It also announced the ice-melting system near the mouth of the Kankakee River, downstream from Wilmington.

The system, built by the Army Corps of Engineers, circulates warm water from the Dresden nuclear power station cooling lake through pipes under the river to melt the ice there and open a channel for ice to flow into from upstream.

With warming temperatures forecast for later in the week, much of the snow on the ground will melt and nearly an inch of rain also is forecast early next week, the agencies warned.

The Kankakee River Ice Spotters have reported that the river is 90 to 100 percent covered with ice 8 to 12 inches thick from Aroma Park downstream to the Illinois River, the press release said. Some ice jams have begun to form.

"All ice on the Kankakee River should be considered unsafe," Lutz said. "Do not venture onto the ice."

~ Robert Themer

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