Ongoing Ice Jam Prompts Flood Advisory for South Fork

Ongoing Ice Jam Prompts Flood Advisory for South Fork Residents

Written by on March 6, 2023

There is already some minor flooding in the region, which will continue and could increase as ice stays stubbornly wedged against the South Fork Bridge.

The National Weather Service Office in Riverton issued a Flood Advisory for “areas from the 6Qs road Bridge near StageTrail road, south to just north of the junction of the 6Qs road and Southfork road” twelve miles southwest of Cody.  The advisory is in effect until 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, March 8.

According to the N.W.S., the river gauge just south of the 6Qs Road Bridge will fluctuate between 7.5 feet and 9.5 feet over the next several days. While the flood stage at this site is 9.5 feet, minor flooding can occur between 8.5 feet and 9.5 feet.

Night will be the most perilous time. The Shoshone River will be at its highest levels between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily.

Ice buildup at Lower Southfork Bridge

Courtesy Park County Public Works

The source of the flooding is the ongoing ice jam at the bridge, which is unlikely to change as Cody undergoes its latest spell of winter weather.

Ice is a frequent problem in this area. Ice buildup and the river’s height routinely threaten the bridge’s structural integrity.

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, Park County Public Works indicated it might close the Lower Southfork Bridge because of the ice jam. However, there have yet to be any closures this winter.

In March 2019, the Road & Bridge Division of Park County Public Works closed the Lower Southfork Bridge for nearly two weeks because of significant ice buildup. Thankfully, County Engineer Brian Edwards found no noticeable damage to the structural supports and connections once the ice subsided.

Property owners experiencing flooding are urged to contact the Park County Office of Homeland Security for assistance. Sand for filling sandbags is available near the bridge.

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