As locals experience flooding, officials urging homeowners to be prepared - East Idaho News

As locals experience flooding, officials urging homeowners to be prepared

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POCATELLO — Emergency managers in Bannock County are warning property owners to be vigilant and prepare for the possibility of flooding.

Although officials say the risk of emergency flooding in the immediate future is low, it’s important to prepare for any future flooding that could occur.

“The risk is minimal at this time, but we stay vigilant,” said Wes Jones, Bannock County emergency management director.

A flood advisory from the National Weather Service expired Wednesday afternoon. Still, Jones says the amount of snowfall this winter increases the likelihood of a slow flood and he’s particularly concerned about the Portneuf River overflowing in the the coming weeks.

“Our peak flow forecasts call for nearly a 70% chance of the Portneuf River reaching flood stage and a 25% chance of it reaching moderate flood stage,” Jones said.

Flooding along the Portneuf River usually occurs in late April or early May, Jones says, and snowpack in the Bannock and Portneuf mountain ranges will continue to “bleed off” as it gets warmer.

Places most at risk are low-lying areas near water and natural drainage areas where water can build up.

The county will continue to monitor the weather conditions and take action based on the data.

Free sandbags are available to Bannock County residents during regular business hours. They can also be refilled at specified locations.

FEMA P 348 Techniques for proper placement of sandbags 520px 1
Courtesy Bannock County

Meanwhile, counties throughout eastern Idaho are encouraging residents to take precautionary measures after reports of flooding in isolated areas. was unable to reach Bingham County’s emergency management director for comment, but a Blackfoot area homeowner posted pictures on Facebook showing flooded farm fields with pools of water collecting on roads in Groveland.

Some property owners in Jefferson County are experiencing water in their basements, according to Emergency Manager Rebecca Squires. Residents have seen high water levels on the road due to higher-than-normal snow levels for mid-March.

Above-freezing temperatures and rapidly melting snow is causing problems in other parts of the county as well.

A news release from the county on Thursday afternoon reports the Circular Butte Landfill at 1571 North 800 East in Terreton is closed due to “a gummy, slushy mess” on access roads.

Crews are pumping out water before assessing damage and beginning repairs, which will include snow and mud removal, compaction and grading. It is expected to be complete by Saturday, March 18.

“Our goal is to be back in operation within 24 hours,” Public Works Administrator Rob Cromwell says in a news release.

For those who have been impacted, Squires offers an important tip.

“(Water) just has to have a place to go, and if the ground is still frozen, it can’t go down. So it’s gonna flow somewhere,” Squires said. “Making a channel for the water to (flow away from the foundation is critical).”

Homeowners are responsible for sandbags or any other materials they might need, but free-fill material is available at the County Line Landfill at 3461 East County Line Road and in the parking lot of the Circular Butte Landfill during normal operating hours.

In Madison County, Emergency Manager Robert Kohler advises residents to call 911 if they are experiencing flood damage. He encourages residents that are not in immediate danger, and are concerned that they might flood, to purchase their own sandbags, which are available from multiple vendors in the area.

“We are grateful for the moisture that our region has received, but, as always, we encourage our residents to be prepared for whatever emergency they might face,” Kohler said in a news release. “We are taking steps to assist our residents in preparing for whatever runoff we see.”