Favorable weather conditions in Minnesota will help prevent some ice jam flooding

Ice floats along the Cottonwood River in New Ulm, Minnesota this week. (FOX 9)

As we head into another warm weekend, many eyes are on our spring flooding outlook.

A number of ice jams have already been reported this year with the latest in New Ulm, Minnesota. For the people of New Ulm, the closing of Cottonwood Road is a yearly thing.

"We're experienced," said New Ulm Police Chief Dave Borchert. "This happens two to three times a year."

But this year, an ice jam caused the waters of the Cottonwood River to rise seven feet in just three hours.

"When it's hitting the bridge you can feel the vibration; it feels a lot like a freight train," said Chief Borchert.

The river is now jammed with ice. (FOX 9)

"All of this is moving downstream on the Cottonwood River and it's meeting the Minnesota where it's still solid ice and so it's all just building up right there," explained National Weather Service Hydrologist Craig Schmidt.

The National Weather Service says going into the season our flood forecast was looking a little daunting, with high groundwater levels and high soil moisture content.

"Almost as wet as it's ever been as far as our column of soil," explained Schmidt.

(FOX 9)

But in the last six weeks, we haven't added to the snowpack, easing that threat. Our upcoming warm weekend will also aid in a nice, orderly melt.

"That will really help to get a lot of water and start moving into the rivers and the fastest things to move ice is water getting into the ice because that melts it much more quickly than even the sun does."

Until the river drops Cottonwood Road will remain closed and until the jam at the Minnesota and Cottonwood River breaks, water levels will remain above the flood stage in New Ulm.