Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 7, 2014

Ice jam threatens power intakes

Niagara Gazette — Amidst blizzard warnings due to expire this morning crews from both sides of the border have been battling the steady buildup of ice near the New York Power Authority intakes in the upper Niagara River. 

Ice jams there could drastically affect operations at the New York Power Authority and severely reduce generation at the Robert Moses Plant in Lewiston and the intakes of the Sir Adam Beck hydroelectric plants on the Ontario side.

On Tuesday, the two ice breaker tugs — the William H. Latham and the Niagara Queen 11 — were pressed into service to break ice jams in the river. Michael Saltzman, public relations director for the Power Authority, said the plant's power generation operations have not been affected and NYPA is meeting its customers' electric power requirements.

Earlier in the day, the National Weather Service issued a  "Flash Flood Warning" for the Upper Niagara River that included the City of Niagara Falls. especially Cayuga Island in the LaSalle area, and a low-lying area on the Robert Moses Parkway.

While Mother Nature dealt a nasty blow of sub-zero temperatures — with driving bans in many Western New York communities and countless cancellations of events and happenings — there was a flip side to the storm that topped some of the worst conditions here in decades. The Niagara Falls State Park, including ice-coated trees around Goat Island and the solid ice bridge below the falls created a picturesque postcard to promote Niagara's No. 1 off-season attraction.

For LaSalle resident Nick Ruffolo, the ice-choked river and blasts of frigid air was a little more than what he ever imagined when he moved into his Rivershore Drive home a couple of months ago. "It's my first winter in this place and the water seems to have crested right up to the breakwall. My neighbor's dock looks like it's just stuck in the ice."

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