HYRUM — A strange phenomenon was reported by many individuals who saw it along the Blacksmith Fork River east of Hyrum last week, after a warm spell caused a brief rapid snow melt.
It appeared to be about a five to six-foot wall of ice on each bank of the river, especially on the lower end near the mouth of Blacksmith Fork Canyon.
On KVNU’s For the People program on Tuesday, Dr. Patrick Belmont of the Watershed Science Department in Utah State University’s College of Natural Resources talked about what took place.
“In this case, to the best of what I can tell has happened here, is probably an ice jam further up on the Blacksmith Fork broke. And that would have sent a big rush of water downstream, and that’s how the big ice blocks end up getting deposited. The ice kind of pushes itself up onto the banks, and it looks like a beautiful mess, as you saw,” he explained.
Dr. Belmont said although it may be more rare on the Blacksmith Fork, it occurs quite a bit this time of year on many other rivers. When it comes to our rivers and reservoirs, he said things are looking better, for now.
“They’re doing okay, you’re right that our snowpack is pretty high, it’s above average conditions. But we’re still not out of the drought, we’re actually still in what is considered a severe drought condition right now. We’re going to need a lot more snow yet this winter to pull ourselves out of that drought.”
He said so many of our reservoirs are so low right now with many of them only 25 to 30% full. And it will take several years of good snow to refill those to normal levels.