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Portneuf River nearing ten feet

The Portneuf River in Pocatello remains at flood stage as of Tuesday night. According to the National Weather Service in Pocatello, the recent rain has added more excess water to the river, making it rise to nearly ten feet.

Currently, the river is measuring at about 9.6 feet. The weather service said it expects the river to get just barely under 10 feet this week, but it doesn’t expect it to go above that.

“The river is expected to continue to fluctuate between 9.5 and 10 feet over the next week or so,” said Dawn Harmon, a meteorologist with NWS. “After which, currently we’re expecting the river to experience a slow decline but it’s expected to remain in flood stage for the foreseeable future.”

One of the reasons why is because of the current snow water equivalent. That means, how much water from melting snow is in the region. The Portneuf region is at 153 percent.

That snow water, combined with how much snow Pocatello saw this winter, plus continued rains, equals a triple threat for the river.

The river is expected to hit that ten feet, but not exceed it. At ten feet, that is considered moderate flood stage, according to Harmon. That means the river could overflow its banks in several areas. But no homes or severe damage would be expected at that level. The water would cause the most damage to farm land.

One farmer in Inkom said he hasn’t seen the flooding on his land that bad for many years. He told KIFI/KIDK that he has about 160 acres of farmland underwater right now.

Harmon said with the rising water levels, a few areas that would be the most impacted and see the river overflow its banks are Sacajawea Park, Inkom, and the Portneuf gap area.

Harmon said it’s important that people remember the river is fairly deep and it is fast. So it’s important to keep your kids and pets away from the water.

Harmon said in all the time she’s been working at NWS in Pocatello, this is the longest continuous streak she’s seen of the river being in flood stage. Even though the river has gone up and down in levels, it has never dropped below the 8.5 feet that dictates flood stage since February 11.

“I’ve been here since roughly 1999 and we have seen the Portneuf flood,” Harmon said. “But since I’ve been here, this is the longest that the river has been in continuous flood.”

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