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Installation of ice boom begins

Warmest start to December or not, the ice boom’s going in Wednesday.

Installation of the 22-span Lake Erie-Niagara River ice boom will begin Wednesday, under the order of the International Joint Commission.

The order states that the 1.7-mile long ice boom’s placement at the entrance to the Niagara River between Buffalo and Fort Erie, Ont. begins when the lake temperature at Buffalo reaches 39 degrees or on Dec. 16, whichever comes first. The New York Power Authority is charged with installing the boom.

Lake Erie’s temperature Tuesday was 46 degrees.

That’s remarkable in itself. The lake water at Buffalo has never been warmer on Dec. 15 dating back to when records started being kept in 1927.

In 1991 and 1998, the water temperature on Dec. 15 was also 46 degrees.

The IJC stated the boom’s placement reduces ice entering the river. That cuts down the chances of ice jamming on the river, which can damage property and hinder water flowing into hydro-electric facilities downstream.