Weiser River ice jam forces flood water into homes and farmland
In addition, Idaho Power reports water is being let out of Brownlee Reservoir to make room for expected higher-than-normal spring runoff. That will affect access to Brownlee’s boat ramps through May.
Flooding conditions around Southwest Idaho as of Friday:
▪ Forecasters earlier this week feared major flooding in Weiser Friday, with the Weiser River reaching nearly 14 feet deep. For those of you keeping track, that’s 2 feet more than what Weiser saw in February, when water shut down U.S. 95 and swamped at least four homes.)
Now that we’re here, conditions have markedly improved. The river is still above flood stage this morning, but is only projected to crest at about 11 feet (considered minor flooding). As of 9 a.m., the river was nearly at that depth and projected to remain there through Friday evening.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning on Friday for the Boise River at Glenwood Bridge, stating it impacts Ada and Canyon counties.
Minor flooding is expected on Eagle Island and may spread downstream to low areas near the river in Star and Caldwell, according to NWS.
▪ A Greenbelt closure announced late Thursday afternoon came with an extra wrinkle: A segment between the Glenwood Bridge and Eagle Road was damaged by heavy equipment used to repair erosion on property next to the Greenbelt itself. The cracked path will remain closed until the Boise River drops and repairs can be made, according to Ada County.
Friday morning, the city of Boise said the boardwalk under the Capitol Bridge, on the river’s south side, has been closed until further notice due to flooding on the path. A detour takes Greenbelt users up to Capitol, where they can use the crosswalk over the bridge and rejoin the path on the other side.
A reminder: The Boise River has been above flood stage for a couple of days now, and it’s unclear how soon dam managers might be able to lower it again. Residents should expect to see Greenbelt flooding and possible river bank erosion. Minor flooding may also show up at Eagle Island and along other low spots near the river, including downstream toward Star and Caldwell.
▪ Brownlee Reservoir will likely sit below 2,020 feet deep for most of March and April, according to Idaho Power. That’s close to 60 feet below its capacity of 2,077 feet.
All boat ramps will be unavailable until May, when the utility expects to start refilling the reservoir.
The lower water level will allow more work to be done on the Moonshine Mine Boat Launch near Richland, Idaho Power says. That project should eventually allow boater access at much lower reservoir levels than is currently possible on Brownlee’s Oregon side.