It seems unlikely that flooding could be a problem when the outside temperature is a mind numbing -20C, but flooding is what they are faced with in Prince George. The frigid weather has caused the Nechako River to become ice jammed. In the past 48 hours alone the jam has grown another 4.5 kilometers, making the total length of this frozen dam to over 11 kilometers (7 miles). The leading edge of the ice dam is now knocking on the very edge of Prince George. As of Friday the Nechako had risen over another 2 metres (6 feet), and is not showing signs of stopping anytime soon. Dozens of businesses and private homes are under an evacuation warning as a result.

With no sign of a warming trend to break the ice jam up naturally the ever resourceful Canadians have come up with their own solutions. Most of the regular ideas berms, etc, are in place, but it is doubtful that they would be enough to stop Mother Nature. With this in mind they are trying two very unique approaches. At the front of the dam they are installing a 12 inch diameter pipe fed with warm water from a local pulp mill in an attempt to stop further build ups. And at the back end of the jam they are using a Eco Technologies Ltd, Amphibex. If you are a fan of The Discovery Channel’s ‘Mean Machine’ series you have to check out the video!  With a price tag approaching $40,000 per day, this is not your average piece of heavy equipment.

Simon Barrett

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