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Ice Jam Up River

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

With below-normal temperatures in Saratoga and record snowfall in both the Snowy Range and Sierra Madre Mountains, local residents are concerned with ice jams, flooding or both. A news item in the April 19, 1909 issue of The Saratoga Sun expressed similar concerns. 

The articles reads:

This morning, the river is filled with an angry flood, full of broken ice, the result of an ice gorge somewhere up river.

The water in the river has been rising steadily for the past three or four days and is higher than usual this morning. It is now almost as high as at any time last year, and yet, the snow has not gone out of the hills surrounding the town, to say nothing of the foothills and mountains.

There is hardly anyone so skeptical at this time as to doubt we are soon to have the highest water seen here for many years. The weather has remained cool all through April, and this has held back the melting of the snow. 

When the warm weather does set in, the banks will not hold the flood.

If any preparations are to be made to keep the water out of the town, they had better be made now, as it will be impossible to do anything when the waters are out of the riverbanks.

Yet, another article in the March 25, 1920 issue of the Rawlins Republican had another slant on an ice jam. 

The headline and story read:

Eight Hundred Woolies Saved by Ice Jam 

Worland, March 20 – Eight hundred head of sheep, marooned on a little island in the Big Horn River and belonging to the Dickie outfit, were saved from being washed downstream by the biggest ice jam ever witnessed in the river here. 

Ice was piled high on all sides of the island, forming a dam which kept out the water and prevented floodwaters from reaping a heavy toll. The owners of the animals later paid $1,422 for the rescue of the sheep through their transfer to a safe place.

Worland was also subjected to a small flood from Nowater Creek, when railroaders were striving to save a bridge and inadvertently turned the tide down the tracks into town, flooding streets and basements. 

The Worland Lumber and Hardware Company sustained damages amounting to $6,000, and others reported smaller damages.

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