RUPERT — Remaining patches of snow in northern Minidoka County have officials bracing for more running water, even as crews have begun to repair roads washed out by this winter’s devastating floods.
Parts of the county are in recovery mode after floods wreaked havoc in the past few weeks, but other areas may get hit again as snow continues to melt and forecasts call for rain, said Roger Davis, operations chief for the county local emergency planning committee.
“No homes that I know of are flooded,” said Kim Vega, Minidoka County’s emergency management coordinator.
Several roads in the county remained closed because of damage.
“But a lot of roads are open that were closed,” Davis said.
Minidoka Irrigation District has been pumping water out of Camp Hawley, the irrigation drainage area for Minidoka’s north side and its canal system. Camp Hawley is the low-lying area at 300 N. 100 W.
At its fullest, the water at Camp Hawley measured 2.75 miles wide and 1.5 miles long.
Davis said officials are confident that enough water has been removed from Camp Hawley to accommodate the water in the remaining snow in that area.
Recent rising temperatures have also helped in many areas, allowing the standing water to absorb into the ground.
Private wells in the region have tested positive for E. coli, and officials urge anyone that had standing water around their homes to have their wells tested. Sample bottles that come with instructions are available at Minidoka Memorial Hospital.
The flood has also impacted the farmers, Davis said, and much of the damage will not be known for months or longer.
“Farmers are still being impacted. Even if they don’t have standing water in their fields they are concerned about the ground being so saturated that they may miss their window for spring planting,” Davis said.
Repairs to infrastructure may take as long as three to five years. Asphalt companies will be in demand, and there may be a waiting list to get roads repaired, he said.
“We are trying to make some repairs right now,” Davis said, “but it’s going to come down to funding.”
In Rupert, road crews poured asphalt patch into potholes Thursday on Oneida Street, and an Idaho Transportation Department crew continued to work to restore one lane of road that was washed away on Idaho 24 at milepost 12.5.
“This was one of the worst spots in the county,” Brian Davidson, a transportation technician operator for ITD, said about the stretch of Idaho 24 reduced to one lane.
The flood washed the ground out from under the southbound lane and cut into the asphalt.
The crew has been working on the project for a couple of weeks and was repacking the base.
“It’s really a mess this year,” Davidson said.