High water levels creating hazards on Snake River


The following press release from Idaho Power is warning residents that high water levels on the Snake River are creating potentially dangerous situations for those recreating on or near the river:

Water levels in the Snake River are higher than normal for this time of year, creating potential hazards for duck hunters, anglers and others recreating on or near the river.

Carryover from the last winter’s heavy snowpack has prompted releases from dams in the Upper Snake Reservoir system, which is managed by the US Bureau of Reclamation. The current flow past Milner Dam, east of Twin Falls, was approximately 7,400 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Jan. 2. The normal flow past Milner Dam this time of year is approximately 1,500 cfs. Flows are likely to remain at or above current levels through February, since the Upper Snake reservoirs need to allow water to pass downstream while maintaining sufficient space to catch spring runoff.

Duck hunters have reported water much deeper and swifter than expected in some popular locations, such as the areas around C.J. Strike Reservoir, south of Mountain Home. Anyone planning to recreate on or near the river should be aware of the conditions and use caution.

Flow forecasts for the Snake River near Murphy (downstream of C.J. Strike Dam and also Swan Falls) are provided by the Northwest River Forecast Center, at nwrfc.noaa.gov/rfc/. Use the navigation on the right to search for the Snake River stations list and find the river gage for the Snake below Swan Falls (SWAI1), also known as the Murphy gage. Since there are few tributaries between C.J. Strike Dam and the Murphy gage, the forecast flow at Murphy should be close to the flow downstream of C.J. Strike Dam.

As of early Wednesday morning, the gage was showing flows over 14,000 cfs; normal readings for January are around 8,500 cfs.