River Ice Modeling using HEC-RAS. New Forum!

Written by ironcore | December 29, 2017


Image courtesy JLH3Photography via Creative Commons.

Hello to everyone in the international River Ice Community! The RAS Solution has a new forum dedicated to river ice modeling with HEC-RAS.  This forum was developed for those who use HEC-RAS to simulate river ice covers and river ice jams. Please post your questions, comments, and insights in the HEC-RAS River Ice Modeling sub-forum which can be found here.  The RAS Solution is especially interested to hear how you have addressed difficult ice problems with HEC-RAS. 

HEC-RAS allows the user to model ice-covered channels with known ice properties, or to simulate wide-river jams. In the first case, the user specifies the ice cover thickness and roughness at each cross section. Different ice cover thicknesses and roughnesses can be specified for the main channel and for each overbank, and both can vary along the channel. In the second case, the ice jam thickness is determined at each section by solving the ice jam force balance equation. The ice jam can be confined to the main channel or can include both the main channel and the overbanks. The material properties of the wide-river jam can be selected by the user and can vary from cross section to cross section. The user can specify the hydraulic roughness of the ice jam or HEC-RAS will estimate the hydraulic roughness on the basis of empirical data. 

Image courtesy of Steven F.Daly, Ph.D., USACE ERDC/CRREL

The river ice capabilities of HEC-RAS were developed over 20 years ago through a joint effort by the HEC-RAS team at HEC and the Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL). Since that time, HEC-RAS with ice has been applied in rivers all around the world. It has been applied in river systems larger and more extensive than were imagined at the start. Recently, the HECRASController has been used to systematically vary the ice parameters over the course of hundreds (if not thousands) of separate simulations. 

Image courtesy of Steven F.Daly, Ph.D., USACE ERDC/CRREL


  1. Unknown

    on March 5, 2018


    We are going to study the ice jam problem in an urban river. We implement a 2D model with HEC-RAS 2D for open-water (no ice) conditions! I was wondering if it is possible to include the ice cover and ice covered river modlelling with HEC_RAS 2D or combined 1D-2D model?
    Thank you

  2. Chris Goodell

    on March 8, 2018

    I don’t think 2D areas can do ice modeling (yet). Hopefully soon though. You might try reaching out to the folks at CRREL to see if they have suggestions.

  3. Unknown

    on May 13, 2018

    My Hec 5.0.3 keeps asking me to enter the junction yet my stream has none.
    How can I connect upstream to downstream of this stream.
    Thank you.

  4. bullon nicodemus

    on May 13, 2018

    When drawing reaches,my Hec 5.0.3 requires me to enter the junction yet the stream in question has none.
    How can I join upstream to downstream of this stream.
    Thank you.

  5. Chris Goodell

    on May 15, 2018

    Do you have two separate reaches? If so, try connecting them so that you only have one.

  6. Fahad Pervaiz

    on August 29, 2018

    Hi all;

    Can we model bridge and calculate Ice forces in HECRAS?

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