'A phenomena of nature:' Glendale residents concerned after huge ice jam forms along Milwaukee River

Ice jam on Milwaukee River, Glendale

GLENDALE -- A huge ice jam along the Milwaukee River has residents in Glendale frozen with fear and awe. Those in the area say the issue is bittersweet.

"The ice sheets are like 16 inches thick," said Donna Hammes, ice jammed behind home.

Wedged in fences, huge blocks suddenly jammed up at the section of the Milwaukee River in Glendale Friday morning, February 23rd.

Ice jam on Milwaukee River, Glendale


"A lot of cracking and crunching," said Hammes. "It's very loud then with the smaller pieces you hear the grinding and the swishing of the water."

Donna Hammes is hoping the slow-moving current will pick up and push the massive clusters downstream. Seeing the formation has been interesting.

Ice jam on Milwaukee River, Glendale

Donna Hammes

"It's a phenomena of nature to watch," said Hammes.

The possibility of potential flooding looms.

"To property owners here it's a concern for us," said Hammes. We did have that rain the last few days so the water level was about four feet higher than normal. Since the jam occurred the water came up three feet."

The force of nature knocked down trees and pushed frozen slabs onto properties along the river.

"We were told by our neighbor to get our furniture off the dock which we had done a month ago and now I see why," said Howard Mazur.

Water is slowly creeping toward Howard Mazur's home.

Ice jam on Milwaukee River, Glendale

"In front of the gate there is a dock where we can put chairs and stuff that is all covered now with water," Mazur said.

The neighbors are keeping a watchful eye.

"I've lived on the Milwaukee River since the mid 1990s, and I've seen three big ice flows. This is by far the biggest ice flow I've ever seen," said Hammes.

Ice jam on Milwaukee River, Glendale


Unsure of how long a blockage of this magnitude will take to break down or move on, folks there hope Mother Nature cooperates.

"We'll have to wait for warmer weather and hope it doesn't get worse," Hammes said.

The Department of Public Works says it is aware of the river conditions and the strategy is to continue to monitor the ice jams. The water has continued to flow and while it has risen at this point it's not anticipating major issues and hopes mild temperatures will help.

Ice jam on Milwaukee River, Glendale