Average temperatures in January in New York State are typically below freezing: 16°F in the Adirondack Mountains, 26°F along Lake Erie and in the lower Hudson Valley, and 31°F on Long Island. These cold temperatures cause ice to form on rivers and lakes.
Ice jams result when there is a quick thaw. The ice that has formed across the top of the water then breaks into large pieces and cannot move quickly with the current of the river. Some of the pieces can get caught on the banks of the river, and then the pieces start to pile up, often causing damage and flooding.
How does geography influence human settlement patterns and economic systems?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain the influence of this recurring event on New York's settlement and economy.