Residents of the Basalt and El Jebel area of Pitkin County were warned to move away from Roaring Fork River and to seek high ground on Tuesday afternoon following the release of an ice jam.
This was followed by another warning posted on Wednesday morning that notified the public of a National Weather Service advisory regarding potential ice and water release through Sunday. In this warning, the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office urged river users from Snowmass Canyon to Carbondale to be highly aware of this potentially dangerous situation.
Ice jams occur when chunks of ice form together, blocking the flow of a river. The subsequent "release" of an ice jam can send a rush of dammed water downstream, along with ice and debris. Ice jams can also result in flooding of the surrounding area, as water flow is slowed or stopped.
Ice jams typically release due to warming temperatures or stress created from blocked water.
View the video below for a glimpse at the power of an ice jam release during a similar situation in 2019.