It's been some time since the Ohio River has frozen bank to bank. Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick talks about the last time it froze and if it'll happen again.

I got a great question from a viewer by the name Kathy Gilbert who lived in the Cincinnati, Ohio area during the super cold winter of 1976-1977.  She asks: "Will the Ohio River freeze this winter?"

You see, Kathy, like many locals here during that winter, experienced the Ohio River frozen over from bank to bank!  She also e-mailed me a photo she took in 1977 of the Ohio completely frozen in the Queen City.

I just got some new photos from Keith Barker, who writes "I was reading your blog and decided I would send you some pictures of the Ohio River during the winter of 1977.  They were all taken at the boat dock in Ashland by my dad."  (Photo's below)

Those are awesome shots!  These photos are rare and I appreciate Keith sending them in to share with us.

So back to the answer, will the Ohio freeze over this winter?  The quick answer is no!  Although we will see ice floating down stream.

Sure, we're entering a colder weather pattern in January but our temperatures won't dip any where near the string of subfreezing and subzero days we had during that winter.   So don't look for the the river to freeze over anytime soon.  An extraordinary number of factors must come into play to make the rive freeze.

In 1977, Huntington hit temperatures as low as -25 in January.  That winter we spent about 28 days at or below zero.  The combination of extreme cold for an extended period of time coincided with a period of low flow according to the hydrologists at the National Weather Service (people who track river and stream levels), which caused the freeze. 

Many think the river won't freeze again because it's too polluted.  That's not the case.  Actually the river is a lot cleaner today than it was in the 1970s due to E.P.A. regulations.  Also, there's a lot more barge traffic and the Ohio is actually deeper these days due to many more locks and dams.

The river won't freeze this winter but I'm sure it will again one day... 

Do you remember the '76-'77 mega winter or have photos of the river frozen over locally?  Send them my way: josh.fitzpatrick@wsaz.com

 Be sure to post your comments below. 


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