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Warm, wet weather system may bring more runoff

Concerns for travel corridors include Lolo Pass

Pictured Feb. 10, a washout alongside the Glenwood Road at Kamiah. The Feb. 9 warm weather front caused significant meltoff of months of accumulated snowfall throughout the region.

Credit: Idaho County Road Department
Pictured Feb. 10, a washout alongside the Glenwood Road at Kamiah. The Feb. 9 warm weather front caused significant meltoff of months of accumulated snowfall throughout the region.

Problems from rain and melting snow are forecasted to resume in Idaho and Clearwater counties starting Thursday, Feb. 16, according to the National Weather Service office in Missoula.

A warm and wet system, complete with mild temperatures and measurable rainfall, will occur Thursday through Friday. While this system will be quick to cross through the region, a total of a half- inch to an inch of rain is likely during this time.

NWS reports its biggest concern during this event will be narrow travel corridors, such as U.S. Highway 12 from Lowell to Lolo Pass, which could experience rock and mud slides onto the highway.


ITD road cam

Lolo Pass view at the Idaho/Montana border (Lolo Pass Visitors' Center), Wednesday, Feb. 15

Weather/Road Info

Check updates for weather, road conditions online:

Any valleys that are still holding on to snow cover will also be susceptible to standing water and minor flooding of low-lying areas.

Cooler temperatures will return for the weekend, helping to alleviate runoff issues.

Multiple county disaster declarations statewide

Problems from recent warmer weather impacting snow loads has significantly impacted the Gem State.

As of this week, Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter has declared State Disaster Declarations for Cassia, Minidoka, Twin Falls and Washington counties as active flooding caused by rapid snowmelt continues throughout parts of the state. Agriculture infrastructure, residences and roads have all sustained significant damage.

In Cassia County officials are working with the Oakley Canal Company and the Goose Creek Flood District to keep the water storage level in the Lower Goose Creek Reservoir (also known locally as the Oakley Reservoir) at a safe level. Oakley Canal Company has confirmed that the dam currently is structurally sound; however, there are concerns over the record amounts of water going into the reservoir and efforts are being made to minimize any threats of overflow. Additionally, canal and stream channels are being cleaned out so discharge water can flow to other locations to prevent flooding issues.

Contamination concern for septic tanks, wells

Many rural areas affected by the current flooding have wells and septic tanks, requiring special care. If your private well is flooded, assume the water in your home is contaminated. Experts also recommend testing your well for bacteria and other contaminants before returning it to service. For homeowners with septic tanks, do not pump your tank when the drainfield is flooded or saturated. If you suspect damage make sure your tanks are inspected by a professional.

Additional information on ensuring well and septic tank safety during a flood can be found.

A total of 15 Idaho counties currently have local declarations related to either snowfall or flooding-related events. The Idaho Emergency Operations Center (IDEOC) remains activated to Level II. Level II Activation means the incident requires extended operations and the IDEOC is staffed with extended hours. Multiple state agencies are providing resources.


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