Spring runoff will be less than last year
By KEVIN WISER
Express Staff Writer
Two days into spring, the south facing slopes of the Wood River Valley
slowly shed their winter snow.
Though La Nina didnt pack the punch weather forecasters had
expected, precipitation over the past couple of months has raised snowpack percentages in
the Big and Little Wood River drainages to near normal.
According to Tom Egger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service
in Boise, the season started off with below-normal precipitation. However, above-normal
snowfall through the months of January and February have pushed snowpack depths to near
Egger said snowpack at Galena Summit is at 93 percent of normal.
According to the weather service, the Big Wood River is currently at .89
feet at a flow of 166 cubic feet per second in Hailey, which is about normal for this time
Flood stage for the Big Wood River at the recording station in Hailey is 6
feet, at a flow of 4,000 cfs.
Egger said the spring run-off, which usually peaks the last part of May or
first part of June, is forecast to be at 73 percent of normal this year.
At this time last year, the potential for spring flooding ran high in the
Wood River Valley. Snowpack in the Big and Little Wood River drainages hovered near 150
percent of normal while water content at Chocolate Gulch stood at over 250 percent of
Gradually warming temperatures, however, brought the snow down from the
mountains slowly, resulting in only minor flooding along the Big Wood River.
According to Bruce Lium of Hailey-based American Water Resources, said
predicting the possibility of flooding on the dynamic, always changing Big Wood River is a
roll of the dice.
However, Lium said that with snowpack percentages already going down this
year due to unusually warm temperatures as of late, the chances of flooding this spring
"My general sense is that unless we get a really hot spring combined
with heavy rain and wind, we wont see any flooding this spring," Lium said.
Egger said the forecast for April through June in south-central Idaho
calls for above normal temperatures and precipitation.