Oconto braces for weekend weather -- and potential ice jams

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OCONTO, Wis. (WBAY) - People living in Oconto are bracing this weekend for another round of severe weather that could produce more ice jams on the Oconto River and shoreline flooding.

An ice jam in Oconto caused widespread flooding at the turn of the new year (WBAY photo)

Much of the area is still cleaning up from floodwaters that recently receded.

Blocks of ice can still be seen near houses along the shore of the Oconto River but with more snow coming and a strong Northeast wind, June Longsine is among those expressing concern.

"I'm worried about another flood, because I live on the end so I'm kind of keeping an eye on it," said Longsine.

So is the National Weather Service in Green Bay where meteorologist Mike Cellitti will be among those working Saturday night when the heaviest snow is expected.

Cellitti said,"River levels may become backed up and run a little bit higher because of the Northeast winds. We're not sure how the ice on the bay is going to be impacting how the river levels rise, so we're going to be watching that very closely this weekend."

Along the river's shoreline there's still evidence of where the flood was.

City officials say the river has gone up in the past couple of days, but at least at this point, it's not over its banks.

In preparation for this weekend's storm the city did take some precautions.

Oconto City Administrator Sara Perrizo added, "We did remove the ice in the river last weekend. We removed as much as we could. The fire department did purchase a flat bottom boat to use in the event that evacuations need to take place. We're certainly offering sand bags to any residents that may need them."

For now residents can only hope for the best.

"If we get the Northeast wind, the ice shoves are going to come again so hopefully we don't," said Longsine.