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Warning of potential ice jam flooding in Erie County creeks

There's a warning of potential ice jam flooding in some Erie County creeks as temperatures begin to rise, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

Buffalo, Cayuga and Cazenovia creeks were the main waterways of concern. A flood warning is in effect through 6:15 a.m. Tuesday for areas around those creeks, according to the weather service. A flood watch for those areas runs through 7 p.m. Tuesday.

"This is a common occurrence when you have a prolonged period of very cold weather that's followed by a thaw," said Jeff Wood, meteorologist at the National Weather Service. "With a little bit of rain on top of that, it's certainly makes conditions for flooding."

The threat is not as significant as during last week's warm up, he said.

"That was kind of a combination of ice jams and snow melt, because we had a pretty significant snow pack. This time around, the snow pack hasn't been as significant and the melt-off has been a little slower. This flooding is really due to the ice jams," Wood said.

Rising creek water levels can break up ice, which can become jammed where there are constrictions in the river or creek channel, such as curves or other restrictions, the National Weather Service reported on its website.

Sudden spikes can recede just as quickly, Wood said.

According to the weather service, localized flooding may still be possible in the vicinity of any ice jams. People living in areas prone to ice-jam flooding are advised to prepare for the potential for flooding.

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