Snowpack across most of southern Idaho, especially in the Wood River Valley and Sawtooth Mountains is anywhere from 180 to over 200 percent of normal. That is nearly an additional season of water still trapped in snow just waiting to fill area rivers and reservoirs as temperatures continue to warm across southern Idaho.
On Sunday, the Big Wood River peaked at 7.82 feet, 1.82 feet above the flood stage of 6 feet. Major flooding occurs at 8 feet whereas moderate flooding occurs at 6.5 feet. Flooding continues in Ketchum and Hailey and other communities around the Big Wood River and the forecast keeps the Big Wood River around or slightly above 7 feet over the next several days.
Over the weekend the higher waters of the Big Wood River worked downstream into Lincoln and Gooding counties causing minor flooding. A flood warning continues for Blaine County along the Big Wood River with flood advisories for minor flooding down stream into Lincoln and Gooding counties along the Big Wood River as well as streams and canals that are connected.
With snowpack holding onto so much water at the higher levels, the flooding will only get worse before it gets better as we go into the end of May and early June. Temperatures this week have been rising into the 60s, 70s on Wednesday and could get close to 80 by Thursday. This will release more of that stored water into the Big Wood River and Magic Reservoir. The National Weather Service flooding forecast for the Big Wood River has it peaking to just shy of 8 feet Saturday morning. This is just below major flooding.
There is some good news as we go into the weekend and next week. While we bring in chances of rain, temperatures will be cooling for the weekend and into next week. In fact, the next six- to 14-day outlook is calling for cooler than average temperatures across the Pacific Northwest. While flooding will continue the runoff into the Big Wood River will slow and allow for the river level to subside some.