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Water levels on the Boise River could increase

Posted at 10:31 PM, Apr 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-14 00:31:19-04

Flows on the Boise River may increase to 10,000 CFS, well above the flooding levels that have already swollen the river's banks.

Federal, state, and local water experts say the chance is small, but if it happens it could cause moderate flooding in a number of areas. 

If the Boise river were to reach 9,500 CFS, the river level would be up to 11.5 feet. It could affect some residential properties near the river, but it would spill over the banks into the warehouse district of Garden City. 

If the river flow were to reach 12 feet, or 10,500 CFS, flooding would occur over Park Center Boulevard, and portions of Eagle Island would be submerged.

While there is only a 10 percent chance of that happening, we decided to look at what could increase the odds the Boise River reaches its highest level since Lucky Peak Dam was constructed.

"There is two things that would really cause a problem as far as the river level going up. One is the above normal precipitation continuing for the next month or two that we have been having for the past month," Explained Chief Meteorologist Scott Dorval. "The second thing is if we get too rapid of a warm up with temperatures shooting from the 80's maybe even into the 90's before all of that snow melts it will come down too quickly and force them to raise the river."

Water managers are watching a number of factors each day. While it's not likely, everyone wants to be better safe than sorry. 

"If we continue to have above normal precipitation through April which I do expect, that number may go up," said Dorval.

Water managers said it's a very fluid situation, it literally changes with each storm that passes, but there are also a number of other factors that contribute, a big one being farmers. 

"if it gets warm and dry then we know the irrigation demand is going to increase so that is going to take water out of the system as well too, but if it stays cool and wet into April and May then the farmers won't be using as much water," said hydrologist Rob Abromovich.

Is there anything you can do to help the flooding situation?

"If we water our lawns now it can all help every bit will help to get some more water out of the reservoirs.," said Dorval. 

Water experts are meeting again next month to assess the situation further.