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Late removal of ice boom expected

WBFO File Photo

Warmer temperatures have returned, but it appears the ice boom is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Paul Yu, Chief of Water Management for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, says satellite imagery from Wednesday shows there's still about 1,000 square miles of ice on Lake Erie.  On Tuesday, officials will be conducting low-level flights over the ice for better observations.

"As they're flying they actually hand-draw what...the ice coverage is, Yu said.

"And then after they draw it out we then bring it back to the office and we use an instrument...[that] computes ice area."

The ice cover needs to be near 250-square miles before the boom can be removed.

"If you were to remove the boom the maximum amount of ice that can go through the Niagara River is 10 or 15 square miles," Yu said.

"So, how long is it going to take to for it to get out? That's number one. And number two...that [ice] is probably still pretty solid...and it may not all flow down there."

Yu says large amounts of heavy ice flowing down the Niagara River could also damage shoreline properties, including the water intakes for the Niagara Power Project. If the ice boom stays another 14 days it will break the record for latest removal set in 1971.