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West Easton officials watch Lehigh River, hope melting ice doesn't flood borough

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 09 2014 03:05:30 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 10 2014 05:07:10 AM CST

Many are keeping their eyes on the region's rivers, waiting to see whether big ice chunks give way to flooding.

WEST EASTON, Pa. -

Many are keeping their eyes on the region's rivers, waiting to see whether big ice chunks give way to flooding.

The Lehigh River has already done a number on Lehigh Drive in Northampton County. People living in the area said they saw the ice recede by a few feet Thursday.

The mayor of West Easton is hoping a gradual warmup over the next couple of days will prevent flooding.

Plenty of people stopped at Two Rivers Landing in Easton to see the frozen Lehigh River. Many had the same word to describe it: amazing.

"Yes it is," said Bill Nagy, a resident of Northampton County. "That's why I said to my brother, 'We’ve got to go check this out.' It's pretty cool. This is really amazing, that solid, that far. It’s like Canada."

"It’s pretty awesome, actually," added Peggy Shafer, of Wilson. "It’s an awesome sight, and she thinks it's from the movie Frozen."

Even as people took pictures and marveled at the power of Mother Nature, West Easton Mayor Gerald Gross said he's been checking the river every day to make sure all the ice doesn't flood the borough.

"When this breaks up, we hope it doesn’t go downstream and get dammed up," said Gross.

Gross said an ice storm like this in the 1990s caused Lehigh Drive to freeze, as well.

The road has been closed for a couple of days, but that hasn't stopped people from walking and skating a bit on the frozen surface.

"It’s beautiful, but it's dangerous," said Octovio Gomez, a photographer.

Many are waiting for the sun to melt the ice and clear the road. For now, officials are not too worried about flooding.

"I'm feeling a little more comfortable today because of the way it's opened up a little and it's flowing. If it breaks off piecemeal, maybe we’ll be in good shape," said Gross.

Flood stage on Lehigh Drive is 11 feet. While there are a couple of ice caps at that height, Gross said the water is measuring a few feet below that.