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Bingham Co. Water Levels Up, No Flood Risk

Water levels are up again in eastern Idaho, but managers with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said the coast is clear when it comes to flooding.

Thanks to a gradual snow-pack melt, the area escaped serious flooding. Now the 50,000-70,000 bags need to be emptied, and the sand inside, moved over to the arena.

Water flowed fast down the Snake River in Blackfoot on Monday morning. It was a far cry from the same scene two months ago, but still high for this time of year.

“The reason the river went up on Friday is because of a big storm that came through Palisades and Jackson and dumped an inch of water,” said Craig Rowland, emergency management director for Bingham County.

Rowland said all of the major reservoirs, from Palisades to American Falls, are at capacity at a time when they’re typically 60 to 80 percent full. And while the snow-pack is no longer an issue, warmer temperatures tend to bring thunderstorms.

“We’re about 3 feet over normal (of) what we usually flow,” said Rowland.

The county can handle the river at Monday’s 8.5 feet, even up to another foot, but Rowland said recreators are having a tough time getting on the water.

“The water’s fairly high in the river and it’s pretty swift,” said Rowland.

Back on dry land, a bucket loader scooped unused sand into a truck to be moved across the fairgrounds. It’s a reassuring sign for Rowland.

“We got ready, which is the greatest thing in the world,” said Rowland. “I’d rather be ready than say I need 300 volunteers to come fill sandbags immediately.”

Mike Beus with the Bureau of Reclamation said water levels should be down by the end of the week, closer to normal for this time of year, and then stay there or decrease for the rest of the summer.

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