For Release: 02/17/2017

Caution urged near dams due to potential for increased river flows, unstable ice conditions

With temperatures forecast to be above 50 degrees for the next several days, Wisconsin River Power Company (WRPCO) is urging residents to avoid the areas around its Petenwell and Castle Rock hydroelectric dams because of the potential for unstable ice, increased river flows and elevated river levels.

A WRPCO employee recently spotted people fishing on its reservoir. WRPCO advises all outdoor enthusiasts to remove any personal property from and stay clear of its reservoirs, as the warm weather may create thin ice conditions or cause sections to break away and move downstream. Even during typical weather conditions, ice formed around hydroelectric dams is often unsafe.

Water from melting snow and ice has the potential to significantly raise narrow portions of the Wisconsin River. Sections or blocks of ice that have not completely melted also may clog river passages and elevate river levels.

Additionally, the National Weather Service is predicting increased river flows into the Petenwell Dam throughout next week. The increased flows have the potential to cause flooding on roadways located south of the WRPCO hydroelectric dams.

WRPCO is closely monitoring ice conditions and river levels around its dams, and will continue to communicate with county officials and residents located near its dams about any changes in river conditions.

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