WATCH: New England River Goes From Calm to Chaos After Ice Dam Breaks Upstream

by Quentin Blount
Photo by Craig F. Walker / Globe staff via Getty Images

Have you ever seen a river go from calm to chaos at a moment’s notice? That’s exactly what one New England river did here recently.

The Moose River is a rocky, scenic river located in the hills of Vermont in the eastern United States. It flows into the Passumpsic River at St. Johnsbury and is part of the Connecticut River basin. The Moose River is actually one of the shortest rivers in the entire country, and it’s commonly used for whitewater rafting.

There is obviously no denying just how beautiful the Moose River really is. But on February 24, the usual calm and tranquil river quickly turned into a violent and chaotic one after an ice dam broke upstream.

The ViralHog Official Twitter account posted a video of the scary incident. The clip comes from a local resident who just so happened to be out on his morning walk.

The local resident who captured the video is Thomas Nowicki. He explained exactly what he witnessed in a Facebook post back on February 24.

“Mst days when I take my walk through Saint Johnsbury, Vermont, I sit down on a rock on Elm Street and get the same picture of the Moose River,” he said. “Today, I did that and then decided to take a video of the swollen river and all of the ice in it, when suddenly a raging torrent from an ice dam upstream swept down.”

If you are thinking that this intense flow of ice down the Moose River only lasted a couple of seconds, you’d be wrong. Nowicki said it lasted for around five minutes.

“It went on like this for five or six minutes before settling down and filling up completely with ice. I have never seen anything like it!”

Ice Jam in New England River is a Warning Sign to All of You Anglers Out There

It’s not exactly like an ice jam is anything new, but now is as good a time as ever to remind all of you Outsiders out there to be careful when you’re out on the water.

Winter is still raging on in some places, but the ice is starting to melt in other places that are reaching the tail end of the cold months. We are quickly approaching the first days of spring, and that means that conditions will be changing on your local waterways.

One phenomenon that happens when frozen rivers begin to melt is called an “ice jam.” This happens when large chunks of ice clump together and block the flow of a river. The scary part is when the jams release. Large chunks of ice and the strong river currents are sent quickly downstream without notice — exactly like what happened here in Vermont.

We encourage all of you anglers out there to check for ice jams on the local waterway that you plan to fish.