Flows on Boise River reach 9,500 cfs for first time since 1983

Water managers had to release more water into the river.

It's just the second time since 1955 that the Boise River levels have reached 9,500 cubic feet per second. The first time it happened was back in 1983. This week water managers have had to increase the flows along the Boise River to that level in an effort to help compensate for the wet weather over the course of the week.

"We're just continuing to monitor. Although, the ground is heavily saturated and there are some areas of concern everything is holding as expected," Eagle Fire Chief Rusty Coffelt said.

Those primary areas of concern are bridges, this as debris can get caught up and eventually build up causing severe flooding. Coffelt says with the flows being this high it doesn’t take much more than just a few tree branches.

“It would not take much to obstruct it. There are some areas that are inaccessible for us to get to, to remove that obstruction,” Coffelt said.

One of the areas of most concern is the Linder Bridge because it has the least amount of clearance between the high flows and the bridge itself.

“We have pre-staged heavy equipment there that should a tree or some sort of vegetation obstruct that bridge, that could cause the bridge to be overflowed by water, we can move that equipment in quickly and remove that and restore the flow,” Coffelt said.

The high flows over the course of the last couple of months has also forced the water table to come up, which has caused some flooding itself.

“Right now, fortunately the vast majority of the flooding is occurring in the open land spaces that really are part of the flood plain,” Coffelt said.

As for how long we could see flows this high? Back in 1983, the flows were at 9,500 cfs for three days. Water managers tell KTVB this year is really dependent on Mother Nature and the inflows into the Boise Reservoir System.

The West Ada School District has also put in place contingency plan in the case of severe flooding. In the chance of severe flooding, the subdivisions that will likely flood are Laguna Point, Island Woods, Two Rivers, and Lower Banbury. In a letter sent home to parents, the West Ada School District states if severe flooding were to happen during the school day and these subdivisions were flooded, students who live there would need to be picked up by a parent or guardians.

If severe flooding were to happen while the students are being bussed home, all buses would be diverted to Lowell Scott Middle School and students would be picked up by a parent or guardian.

Finally, if severe flooding happens while students are home, many other emergency personnel and agencies would handle the evacuation process.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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