Flooding

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.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Thousands more people in the Treasure Valley may be required to buy flood insurance in the near future.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is revising its floodplain maps for the Boise River, and a lot of neighborhoods near the river could be added, requiring more home and business owners to buy potentially costly flood insurance.

Barbara Horne's neighborhood in Eagle is one of those. Horne walks her dog around the pond behind her house.  The pair could reach the Boise River in five minutes. Despite living so close to the river, Horne does not have flood insurance.

Rick Strack / Boise State Public Radio

A slow-moving weather system in south-central Idaho that the National Weather Service is calling a 100-year storm dumped nearly 3 inches of rain on Twin Falls and caused widespread flooding.

Twin Falls City Manager Travis Rothweiler tells The Times-News that the city's drainage system on Wednesday became overwhelmed, causing flooded streets, homes and businesses.

Rothweiler says sewage backed up into seven homes in the city, and that state and federal agencies have been notified.

Tom Kelly / Flickr

Forecasters with the National Weather Service say storms will move into southern and central Idaho this afternoon. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain and flash flooding.

The system is a surge of monsoonal moisture approaching Idaho from the south. NWS Meteorologist Les Colin says an inch of rain could fall in some areas.

historic photo, Cottonwood creek
Idaho Statesman, Boise Public Library

Since the devastating landslide hit the town of Oso, Wash. last month, people who live near hill slopes or mountainsides have been asking if something similar could happen to them. Though Boise has not seen the tragic loss of life the Oso slide brought, the city is no stranger to floods and mudslides near its foothills.

The Idaho Statesman / The Idaho Statesman/Boise Public Library

It was August, 1959. Boise was having one of its typical hot, dry summers. A fire had just burned 9,000 acres in the nearby foothills. Then on August 20, a huge storm system dumped heavy rain on the Treasure Valley. One inch of rain fell in an hour on the burn scar. 

The water overwhelmed the hills and washed away tons of topsoil. A Forest Service video made several years after the event, tells the story.

About 1,400 flood insurance policies in Idaho subsidized by the government are facing hefty premium increases despite a congressional fix intended to limit the worse of the rate hikes.

More than a million policyholders across the nation will be required to pay higher annual premiums as the federal government cuts subsidies in an effort to cover the National Flood Insurance Program's more than $24 billion deficit brought about by the discounts and a series of catastrophic storms.

National Weather Service

What a difference a week makes.

Last week, concern was mounting over how little precipitation had fallen in southern Idaho this winter. Now, forecasters say areas in southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon could see several days of flooding.

Mel Meier / InciWeb

The Beaver Creek Fire burned more than 174 square miles and endangered the towns of Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley last month. The once-enormous blaze is fully contained.

But residents in the area now have to be on alert for another danger: flash floods and mudslides over the charred land. The Times-News reports that 18 inches of mud came into the Croy Creek Canyon area overnight.

National Weather Service warned Idaho residents traveling or recreating on National Forest lands to be wary of possible flash flooding, as recent wildfires have scorched what ordinarily would have been rain-sopping vegetation from hillsides.

A flash flood watch goes into effect at midnight and continues through Tuesday on Boise National Forest areas burned by the massive Elk, Pony and Little Queens fires.

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