Emergency managers warn of flood risks this weekend

Posted at 7:16 PM, Jan 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-05 21:28:09-05

When the temperature outside warms up to just above freezing, snow turns into rain.

Plus, rain falling on top of snow has the potential to cause flooding.

Many of us think of flooding in the Springtime high up in the mountains when rain hits all of the snowpack that built up during the winter months. However, with as much snow as we've been getting the valley, the threat of flooding is high in the lower elevations.

It's something that Idahoans are used to especially in areas near the Lemhi, Big Wood and Sake Rivers.

People who work and live in Weiser remember all too well the big flood of 1997.

"Everything melted and with the rain water that came rushing down hit the Snake River and there was no place for it to go," says Tom Schaffer, who recalls what the aftermath looked like over a decade ago. "The water was like 3-foot deep on the show room floors."

The spillover wreaked havoc for others who worked to defend their home and livestock.

Weiser resident Bill Shahnahan says: "The 97' flood, there was water 2-foot inside this house before it was over with. By 11 o'clock, I was swimming cattle out of here with a horse."

Those with the Idaho Office of Emergency Management Center urge people to be prepared.

Safety tips for travelers include never attempting to cross a flooded road, realizing that some roadways heading toward Nevada and Oregon might simply be impassable and winterizing your vehicle so you're prepared with all emergency items in the case you're stuck for hours on end.

"You and your family must be prepared. We understand that you have a lot of stuff going on and sometimes it's hard to do that but every family should have a 72-hour kit," says Elizabeth Duncan, a public affairs officer for the IDEOC.