Story and Photo by Rick Hiduk
Tunkhannock Creek, as seen in both directions from the bridge that connects business Routes 92 and 6 in Tunkhannock, has ice backed up several miles from the Susquehanna River on Tuesday afternoon. Upstream, the creek was still flowing through Shadowbrook Resort, though full of ice.
While the severity of the latest cold snap, or “arctic vortex” as it has been called, will abate some over the next few days, temperatures will likely stay below freezing until midday on Friday, when some low-lying towns in the Endless Mountains could reach the mid 30s.
Rain is expected to move in on Saturday, as temperatures climb to 44 in Laporte, 45 in Montrose, 47 in Towanda, and 51 in Tunkhannock. The quick thaw and rain on all-but-frozen turf will run off quickly. Any rise of the ice-chocked creeks could prove troublesome for slow-moving waterways such as Tunkhannock Creek along the back edge of the downtown area, where thick ice is already forming and beginning to stack upon itself.
Even at Laporte, temperatures are predicted to stay above freezing for a few days beyond the weekend before returning to normal after another chance of rain. This topsy-turvy weather pattern has been especially frustrating to winter anglers, who have only been able to fish on some ponds and lakes. So far, safe shelf ice on the river has eluded them.
The recent rise and fall of waterways, coupled with frigid temperatures, has also created dangerously sloped ice shelves along stream beds and the river. The ice can present the illusion of being solid while being hollow underneath and can carry one swiftly into the stream.
Lows this morning ranged from -3 to -12 in the area, while daytime highs varied from zero degrees in Laporte to six degrees in Tunkhannock.
According to weatherman Wayne Vanderpool, the frigid air broke a (relatively wimpy) record at Towanda overnight. Vanderpool logged -5 into the record book this morning, handily breaking the previous record for the date of zero degrees.
For up-to-the minute forecasts from Towanda, log on to www.waynesweatherworld.com or join other weather watchers in ongoing conversations by following Wayne A Vanderpool on Facebook.