Flooding

Blaine County Sheriff / Facebook

Officials in Blaine County are telling residents water levels in the Big Wood River will rise again.  

Cooler temperatures and a momentary reprieve from flooding in the Wood River Valley are being called “the eye of the hurricane.” Speaking to a group at the Community Campus, Hailey City Councilman Don Keirn invoked the imagery while reminding people there's still plenty of snow yet to melt in the mountains.

Roger Phillips / Idaho Department of Fish and Game

It’s that time of year, when the quiet Nampa Fish Hatchery starts delivering thousands of mostly rainbow trout around the state for anglers to catch. But high water means some of that prime fishing will have to wait.

Each year, Idaho Fish and Game stocks more than 22 million fish from 12 different hatcheries into lakes, reservoirs and ponds. Most of the 18 species of fish are rainbow trout and kokanee salmon.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Wood River Valley residents continued to battle floodwaters over the weekend. Officials distributed sandbags as worried residents moved to fortify their homes throughout Blaine County. 

The Big Wood River continued to rush along at flood-level stages. The river hit a peak level on Friday night, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began reinforcing the Broadford levee in Bellevue. On Saturday, Governor Butch Otter arrived in Hailey to meet with local officials.

Each day, librarian Randy Kemp has seen Warm Springs Creek rise and rise by his Ketchum home.

Boise River, Flooding
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Boise River levels will be on the rise again next week. Officials  with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation hope that by increasing it from 8,900 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 9,500 now, they can reduce the risk of more severe flooding later this spring.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

For the first time since 2011, the Pacific Northwest isn't showing any signs of drought.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report shows that Oregon, Washington and Idaho are free from drought worries.

Kathie Dello, deputy director of Oregon's climate office, says the Northwest saw lots of precipitation during the water year that began in October.

She says snow and rain came earlier and stayed later. Typically drier months such as October, February, March and April were wetter than usual across the region.

City of Ketchum

Officials in central Idaho have expanded a flood evacuation order to include about two dozen homes near the resort town of Ketchum.

Blaine County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Holly Carter said the homes are all in a narrow canyon west of town that runs along Warm Springs Creek. Cater says rapid spring runoff and the swollen creek waters have made it impossible to keep the road maintained enough for emergency vehicles to reliably reach the homes.

Idaho Fish and Game

After an emergency declaration was issued for Blaine County Monday by Lt. Gov. Brad Little, the Army Corps of Engineers say they're sending a small group to the region to help with flooding.

The Corps is sending a three person crew to assess flood risks to public infrastructure and help Blaine County emergency management staff. Members of the Army Corps team are experts in both hydraulic and civil engineering. Another task the group will assist with is coming up with contingency plans should a worst case scenario unfold.

Dave Thomas / Flickr

The warm temperatures late last week are being blamed for rising flood waters in parts of Blaine and Elmore Counties.

Julie Falk / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been a frustrating spring for southwest Idaho farmers. Abnormal weather has been causing problems and delaying planting for many of those who grow sugar beets, onions and other crops.

Canyon County Extension agent Jerry Neufeld says the constant spring rain has really slowed the process down. Farmers who normally have all their spring planting done by now are seeing their workload start to backup.

Boise Police Department / Twitter

Much of the Greenbelt is closed and underwater, due to flooding on the Boise River. But eventually, the water will recede, leaving much of the 25 miles of pathway damaged or destroyed. But Boise has a plan once the river slows down.

In many places, the Greenbelt has been totally washed out by the river, which is well above flood stage. And City of Boise Spokesman Mike Journee says there’s more damage below the surface of the path.

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.

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