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Crews work to dismantle ice jam in town of Jay

An ice jam is seen Thursday in the East Branch of the AuSable River along Route 9N in Upper Jay. Essex County crews used excavators and a bulldozer to alleviate the problem. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

UPPER JAY — Essex County workers used excavators and a bulldozer to remove a mile-long ice jam from the East Branch of the AuSable River in Upper Jay Thursday.

At 2 p.m., crews were removing ice by the River Bend Electric building on Route 9N.

The town of Jay ordered a state of emergency at 5 p.m. Wednesday due to the “unexpected and severe flooding.” Town Highway Superintendent Kevin Zaumetzer told the Press-Republican newspaper that flooding had reduced Route 9N to one lane of traffic Tuesday.

County Emergency Services Director Don Jaquish said the flooding was just on the roadways and that there was no property damage. By Thursday morning, he said, there was no more flooding in the three riverside hamlets of Upper Jay, Jay and AuSable Forks.

He added that evacuation protocols for residents were in place if needed.

“We have a shelter set up at the Jay town hall,” Jaquish said. “Anybody who lives by the river knows this is a common occurrence and has a bag ready to go with supplies.”

Jaquish said it can be hard to tell how long ice jams will last.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” he said.

Over on the West Branch of the AuSable heading toward Wilmington, there was some ice buildup, and the current moved faster than usual Thursday. Whitewater roared underneath the bridge to the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center.

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