Flooding issues continue throughout East Idaho

Jordon Beesley/Idaho State Journal  This photo shows some of the impacts of flooding in Southeast Idaho as cows cross a causeway over the low-lying areas of Marsh Creek just south of Inkom Monday afternoon.

Jordon Beesley/Idaho State Journal
This photo shows some of the impacts of flooding in Southeast Idaho as cows cross a causeway over the low-lying areas of Marsh Creek just south of Inkom Monday afternoon.

LaDee Kneebone jokes with her husband that the value of their property in the Marsh Creek area south of Inkom should go up — now that it’s lake-front property.

Kneebone has eight acres on Marsh Creek Road, and she says roughly six of them have been under water. In some areas, it’s been as much as 4.5 feet deep.

Although her house is, luckily, outside of the flood plain, Kneebone says the water has made their dog kennel unusable and covered some of their firewood, cutting tools and other equipment.

She’s not alone.

Flooding has occurred in many places throughout the state, partly due to a combination of warm temperatures and rain that have melted some of the significant snowpack in lower elevations.

A YouTube video, “Severe Flooding: South East Idaho Cache Valley,” depicts flooding and landslides in multiple locations in Franklin County.

More than a third of Idaho’s 44 counties have declared disaster areas, including Bingham and Caribou.

Caribou County commissioners on Monday signed a disaster declaration due to snow melt and ice jams that have created heavy flows and sheet flooding in the county and its waterways. The declaration states that structures, roadways, infrastructure and public utilities have been threatened and landslides have occurred.

Eric Hobson, public safety director for Caribou, said the south end of the county has been hit the hardest. A landslide took out part of a rural road, and water has not only made its way into basements, but it has also threatened some house foundations.

Temperatures, which cooled off Friday through the weekend, froze water, offering some respite. But Hobson said that’s only a Band-Aid.

“It’s slowed down the flow for us,” he said.

Bear Lake County officials have also considered signing a disaster declaration due to some flooded basements and fields. But they have been able to hold off for now, said Alan Eborn, the Emergency Management Services coordinator.

The cooler temperatures have helped conditions there as well.

Still, officials with the National Weather Service forecast office in Pocatello say a freeze-thaw pattern will continue through midweek. And there’s no guarantee that flood waters will continue to slow or recede.

“As the weather turns cooler and drier, you may think it’s OK to not worry about flooding. That’s really not the case. While, yes, we will see some slow down as temperatures are cooler…there is still some water flowing and some flood waters have nowhere to go at the moment,” according to a statement on the National Weather Service’s website. “With the inversions in place, temperatures will be WARMER off the valley floor, meaning additional melting is possible that will flow into lower elevations. You need to remain ready and be prepared for flooding to continue.”

Locally, the National Weather Service has issued flood warnings for rain and snowmelt for Cassia, Bannock, Power, Bingham, Oneida and Franklin counties until around noon on Tuesday due to flooding that is imminent or occurring.

“Excessive runoff will cause flooding of small creeks and streams, country roads, farmland, and other low lying spots,” the warning states.

The Portneuf River in the Pocatello area was also above flood stage at 8.8 feet on Monday morning, according to a National Weather Service flood statement, which added that Sacajawea Park and Marsh Creek may be affected.

Logan McDougall, Pocatello’s public information officer, says there has been some flooding in Sacajawea Park as a result of the high waters.

In Southeast Idaho, a flood advisory is also in effect for Jefferson County, southern Butte County, northwestern Bonneville County and western Madison County until 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday. There is also a flood advisory for southwestern Caribou County until 1 p.m.

“A Flood Advisory means river or stream flows are elevated, or ponding of water in urban or other areas is occurring or is imminent,” according to the advisory.