4:35 p.m. UPDATE:

Twin Falls County commissioners declared a flood emergency Thursday due to snow melt, which, they said, is creating an imminent threat to life, livestock and property.

The conditions will require the activation of the response and recovery aspects of all applicable local disaster emergency plans and may require federal and state emergency assistance to supplement local efforts.

3:55 p.m. UPDATE:

U.S. 93 is closed south of Jackpot, Nev., because of water on the road. It is expected to reopen by 6:30 p.m., according to the Nevada Department of Transportation website.

3 p.m. UPDATE

Jerome County Commissioners are planning an emergency meeting at 10:30 a.m. Friday to make a disaster declaration, commissioner Cathy Roemer said.

Anyone who needs help can call Roemer at 208-308-5034.

2:30 p.m. UPDATE

A dairyman near the Raft River in Cassia County said most of his fields were under water but his dairy is in a good spot. Meltwater is flowing through his sloped pens but not pooling.

Others cattlemen could be in worse shape, he said. Beef cows are pregnant and if a cow drinks dirty water, she can abort her calf.

Eric Parrott, who raises organic beef south of Filer, agreed. One surprising source of bad water can be a watering trough.

"Birds can introduce coccidiosis into the herd when they come to drink," Parrott said. Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract that ends up in a cow's intestinal tract "when birds poop in their drinking water." 

Parrot's cows are on crop ground and not penned.

"The moisture is bad for young calves," he said. And so are wide swings in temperatures. "It can break down a calf's immune system and bring on pneumonia."

Parrot said he has had only one calf born so far, "so we're not in too bad of a situation."

1:55 p.m. UPDATE

A 30-mile stretch of Idaho 75 north of Stanley has been closed due to avalanche danger and is expected to remain closed until Saturday, ITD announced. The roadway is closed to all traffic between Lower Stanley and the Yankee Fork Ranger Station.

“The addition of snow, rain and warming temperatures has made the snowpack unstable resulting in several slides in the last 24 hours,” ITD said in a statement. “The road is expected to remain closed until Saturday morning when cooler temperatures will stabilize the snow conditions.”

Meanwhile in a Blaine County, U.S. 20 is blocked in both directions east of Carey due to a fatality crash near Craters of the Moon National Monument. Details of the crash were not immediately available, and it’s unknown at this time if flooding or road conditions contributed to the deadly crash. 

1:25 p.m. UPDATE

The city of Jerome has announced two road closures due to flooding.

Yakima Avenue East between South Lincoln Avenue and South Tiger Drive is closed, the city announced just after 1 p.m.

Also closed is 16th Avenue East between North Tiger Drive and North Fillmore Street.

“Our crews are continuing to battle the water,” the city’s statement said. “Please call SIRCOMM to report issues or if you need assistance.”

The city also said Jerome High School students and administrators spent the morning filling sandbags and placing them in flooding areas.

“We and the community owe you a debt of gratitude,” the city said in the statement. “It was very moving to see so many kids so willing to lend a hand. They worked extremely hard and really helped us out.”

1:15 p.m. UPDATE

Emergency crews in Twin Falls County are running out of “Road Closed” signs as they battle heavy flooding on dozens of roads and highways, especially in the western portion of the county.

Balanced Rock Road at the Balanced Rock Grade has joined a long list of closures, according to police scanner traffic. There were also reports of heavy water on the roadway at River Road East near Kelly’s Canyon Orchard, just south of the Snake River, north of Buhl and Filer. 

11:35 a.m. UPDATE

Idaho 46 just north of Buhl is now closed due to culvert damage caused by high levels of storm water, ITD announced.

The highway is closed at milepost 87, between 4200 and 4300 North Roads.

The condition of the highway was deteriorating throughout the morning, and ITD warned about 11 a.m. it could possibly close. 

11:20 a.m. UPDATE

Drivers should avoid the entire western part of Twin Falls County if possible, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman said.

U.S. 30 at the Deep Creek Bridge, west of Buhl, has been closed since about 10:20 a.m., and now the Clear Lakes Grade is being closed due to flooding and water on the roadway, TFCSO spokeswoman Lori Stewart said.

“We’re asking that drivers avoid traveling in the west of the county,” Stewart said. “Please use extreme caution.”

The sheriff's office has confirmation of eight houses that have flooded, Stewart said, but she suspects there are many more. She said every resource available to the county is being used to fight the flooding and keep citizens safe. 

11 a.m. UPDATE

Interstate 86 between Pocatello and the Magic Valley is now open in both directions, ITD announced. The interstate was closed since Monday evening due to flooding.

The reopening comes as smaller highways throughout the valley continue to close for flooding.

Idaho 46 near Buhl is now covered with “significant water” and motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes, ISP said in a statement. Traffic on the highway is not blocked, but conditions are deteriorating and it may be blocked soon.

“Motorists are encouraged to use caution when approaching or traveling through any water covering the roadway as the depth of the water may be difficult to judge and other hazards may exist,” ISP said. 

10:35 a.m. UPDATE

“We have a little bit of good news: I-86 will be fully open today,” ITD spokesman Nathan Jerke said.

Westbound lanes of the interstate were reopened about 10 a.m. Thursday, while eastbound lanes are expected to be reopened later in the day.  

The interstate that runs between Pocatello and the Magic Valley has been closed since Monday evening between mileposts 0 and 36.

Meanwhile, smaller highways continue to be closed around the Magic Valley.

U.S. 30, west of Buhl, is now closed for flooding at Deep Creek, between milepost 196 and 197, Jerke said.

Idaho 24 near Rupert has also closed due to flooding and water on the roadway.

Jerke said the reason for closing roadways is twofold: to protect travelers and to protect the roads themselves. ITD is choosing to close roads when there is danger to the public or concern the road could be badly damaged if kept open. 

9:50 a.m. UPDATE

Farmland and homes in the Buhl and Castleford area are being affected by the flooding, as many residents are trying to prepare their homes with sandbags, Twin Falls County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Jackie Frey said.

Frey got the call late Wednesday night about the canal breach, and responders implemented the emergency notification system to call homes in the affected areas. Deputies also went door-to-door.

"The county received no sandbags whatsoever from the state of Idaho," Frey said. "The citizens need to prepare their own homes and do their own mitigation efforts."

The American Red Cross shelter for displaced families is in Twin Falls so it will be centrally located if other areas become flooded. Many residents near Buhl and Castleford opted instead to stay with families or protect their homes, Frey said. To her knowledge, no homes have been flooded.

As Twin Falls Canal Co., Twin Falls Highway District and Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office work to mitigate damage to life and property, the National Weather Service has warned of an upcoming rainstorm that may affect the South Hills drainage area. McMillen Creek, Rock Creek and the Perrine Coulee on College of Southern Idaho's campus are being monitored, Frey said.

Should a problem occur, the emergency system will send warnings to those affected.

"Mother Nature has definitely come after us," Frey said.

8:53 a.m.

TWIN FALLS — A canal has been breached in two places in Twin Falls County, creating flooding and road closures, the Twin Falls County sheriff's office reports.

The breaches occurred at 1000 East and 3600 North in Castleford and 3575 North and 1709 East in Buhl. Law enforcement and canal company employees are monitoring the situation and notifying residents in areas where flooding is expected.

These roads are closed:

  • 1300 East at 3400-3500 North
  • 3400 North at 900-1200 East
  • 3500 North at 900-1200 East
  • 3600 North at 900-1500 East
  • 3700 North at 1500 East
  • 3800 North at 2600-2700 East

The American Red Cross is opening a shelter at Amazing Grace Fellowship, 1601 Eastland Drive N. in Twin Falls, for people displaced by the flooding.

Check back for updates at magicvalley.com.

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