Thursday, May 26, 2011

2011 Melt off

Flood Concerns and Water levels rise

Boise--The Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security is keeping a close eye on weather and flooding conditions throughout the state and preparing for flooding after heavy rainfall yesterday and more storms expected over Memorial day

After heavy rainfall yesterday there is a higher-than-average potential for damaging flooding due to record snowpack in many areas of the state, many rivers have reached flood stage.

Hydrologist Troy Lindquist of the National Weather Service in Pocatello, said a weekend storm that could run through Sunday night could bring "significant" accumulations of snow to the high country. He said as much as six inches could fall in the mountains at 8500 feet and above, he said, "and that's more that's got to melt off, extending the runoff season."

Continued heavy rain will also add to potential flash floods here, Lindquist said. Lindquist says its important to keep an eye on local streams and creeks, especially those that are already at capacity.

Backcountry snowfall is already at record levels, particularly in northern and eastern Idaho. The cooler spring weather has delayed snow from melting, increasing concerns that runoff could be devastating when summer comes. Reservoirs throughout the state are releasing water to make room for the additional runoff.

Idaho rivers now at flood stage include the St. Joe in northern Idaho; the Bruneau and Boise rivers in southwestern Idaho, and the Snake, Henry's Fork and Portneuf rivers in eastern Idaho. The Kootenai River close to Bonners Ferry is near flood stage, as is Lake Coeur d'Alene. Local and state officials will continue monitoring river and lake levels as they fluctuate with the varying weather and runoff conditions.

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