Flooding

Boise Police Department / Twitter

Idaho Governor Butch Otter says residents facing possible springtime flooding aren't taking seriously what he calls a potential disaster.

Otter made a plea Wednesday for people to pay closer attention to the situation on the flooded Boise River.

“We’ve got to get the word out that this is a disaster waiting to happen. We don’t need people to add to it by getting on the river or getting on the river banks,” said Otter.

Alberto Garcia / Flickr

As the Boise River continues to run well above flood stage, the heightened water level is making for ideal mosquito breeding conditions in some areas. Officials in Canyon County are identifying regions where exploding mosquito larvae populations are showing up.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

As dam officials bump up the water flow on the Boise River yet again this week, it’s a good time to take a look at the numbers that matter during this flooding event.

This week, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to raise the water level at the Glenwood Bridge to 8,500 cubic feet per second. As of Wednesday, crews were pushing 9,240 cfs of water out of Lucky Peak Dam. Gina Baltrusch with the Walla Walla District of the Corps says about 1,000 cfs is being diverted into irrigation canals and the rest is flowing down the Boise.

Dave Thomas / Flickr

The brutal winter is still affecting the Treasure Valley as record amounts of snow have yet to melt and enter the complex system of reservoirs and dams that store runoff. To prevent a crisis in the event of a heat wave and to accommodate all the water stored in the snow, dam officials are once again raising the Boise River.

ramsbee / Flickr

As the Boise River continues flowing well above flood stage, officials are watching the water for downed trees and other large debris that could prove hazardous. They’re the latest threat along the Greenbelt.

Powerful winds late last week blew seven trees into the water between Capitol Boulevard and Americana in Boise that had to be fished out. The fear is toppled trees could collect at bridges, form natural dams and cause even more flooding along the swollen river.

Boise River, Flooding
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will release even more water from Lucky Peak Dam next week, up to 8,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) by Wednesday. Flood stage is considered to be 7,000 cfs, and was reached a month ago. Before they do that, a team led by engineers from the federal agency in Washington will help put up a levee to protect parts of Ada County near Eagle Island.

Boise Parks and Recreation Department

Flooding along the Boise River continues to get worse. Another section of the Greenbelt, this time near Veterans Memorial Park, was closed Tuesday. More emergency declarations were issued and a special team from the Army Corps of Engineers was deployed to Boise.

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter told reporters Monday he plans to appeal the federal government’s decision not to give Idaho disaster aid. He made the request to help pay for the cost of this year’s severe winter storms and spring floods.

Idaho Fish and Game

Record snowfall in southern Idaho has communities on edge as reservoirs and rivers fill with water. Flooding is also threatening an endangered species of fish.

The threatened fish hatchery sits along the Boise River near Eagle Island State Park, which is above flood stage due to snow and rain. Idaho Fish and Game officials say rising waters could reach electrical pumps used to keep the salmon alive.

Eddie Welker / Flickr

Counties in all parts of the state have declared various, weather related emergencies. As of Tuesday, 27 counties were listed as being impacted by weather conditions to the point of emergency status.

The latest counties to get disaster status are in the northern part of the state; yesterday Governor Butch Otter declared states of emergency in Latah, Benewah, Shoshone, Clearwater, Bonner, Kootenai and Boundary Counties due to fears of avalanches and flooding.

ZapWizard / Flickr

Officials at the federal, state and local levels will begin evaluating flood damage in Cassia County in the next few weeks following one of the most brutal winters in decades.

Roadsidepictures / Flickr

Officials in the eastern Idaho town of Blackfoot say a levee holding back part of the Snake River could fail this spring putting the community in danger of flooding.

In a disaster declaration signed by the mayor of Blackfoot last week, city leaders believe a drastic increase in temperatures could prompt rapid melting and cause runoff to breach the levee.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise River will hit flood stage this week as officials try to make room in reservoirs for more rain and snowmelt.

The river will go up a little bit Monday, 250 cubic feet per second, and again Tuesday, which will bring flows to 7000 cfs. That’s considered flood stage as measured by the Glenwood Bridge gauge.

That means more sections of the Greenbelt along the river, some of which are already underwater, will be flooded. Minor flooding is expected on Eagle Island and other low spots along the river. And river bank erosion could become an issue.

Boise Parks and Recreation Department

If you’ve taken a stroll on the Boise Greenbelt in the last week or so, you’ve probably noticed a higher and faster river rushing past you. In just a few days, rocks in the river bed have been covered and large logs have been carried downstream.

Jeff Roberson / AP Images

Emergency managers have brought in heavy equipment to deal with canals overflowing with ice. Record snowfall this winter, followed by a fast warming spell have put people in Idaho’s ag-centric counties on high alert.

Flooding is continuing to affect communities in southern and eastern Idaho as warm weather melts significant snowpack in lower elevations.

More than a third of Idaho's 44 counties have declared disaster areas, including Bingham and Caribou. Temperatures cooled on Friday and through the weekend, offering some respite from the runoff, but many communities are already dealing with significant flooding and ice jams.

Bear Lake County officials have also considered signing a disaster declaration due to some flooded basements and fields.

Paul Moody / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho has so much snow that water is already being released from some reservoirs for flood control and Idaho Power has halted most of its cloud-seeding operations.

"It's just an amazing year," said Ron Abramovich, a water supply specialist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service. "I don't think anybody is talking about shortages this year."

FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is holding hearings on proposed flood maps in Ada and Canyon County.

FEMA has come up with new maps that change the outline of the 100-year floodplain. That’s the area that has a 1 percent chance of flooding in any year.

The maps are preliminary and include areas along the Boise River, Nine Mile Creek, Mill Slough and Willow Creek. Hundreds of homes in Boise, Garden City, Eagle and Star fall inside the new floodplain districts proposed by FEMA.

Little Black Star / Flickr

Idaho’s Office of Emergency Management is warning of possible flooding around the state, thanks to recent winter storms.

The Idaho Emergency Operations Center is now at the level of Heightened Awareness. That means the threat level is moderate and could develop into a state-level emergency disaster.

Officials are watching the Lemhi River, Big Wood River and the Snake River at Weiser, all of which have ice jams and minor flooding. Ice jams occur when shallow areas of the river freeze faster than deeper spots and the ice gets stuck around bends and curves.

National Weather Service

With rain in the forecast, the National Weather Service in Boise is warning of the possibility of flash flooding and mudslides in the 294 square miles burned by the Pioneer Fire.

A low pressure system could bring up to a half inch of rain Thursday to parts of the Boise National Forest that were burned by the Pioneer Fire. While that could slow the still-burning blaze down, it could also bring flash flooding.

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