Wednesday, April 19, 2006

County, city officials forewarn of floods

Ketchum sets flood meeting on April 26

An out-building adjacent to a residence on the 1700S road at the north end of Gooding looks somewhat stranded Monday after the Big Wood River breached its banks and spread its domain to include fields, yards and other areas.


With one of the highest snowpacks in decades beginning to melt in the Big Wood and Little Wood drainages, Blaine County residents have been advised that some areas will experience flooding. A statement issued by county commissioners said that landowners are responsible for protecting their property but cautioned them not to undertake riverbank modifications without a permit from the Idaho Department of Water Resources and Blaine County.

The Blaine County Sheriff's Department is advising sightseers to stay away from the Magic Reservoir Dam and use caution near streams and rivers.

The city of Ketchum scheduled a town meeting for 5:30 p.m. April 26, at City Hall, 480 East Ave. North, to discuss flood preparations. Representatives of the police, fire, wastewater, planning and street departments, Idaho Power Co. and Intermountain Gas will be available for questions and answers.

The city is offering free sandbags, available at the Ketchum Street Department, 210 10th St., but residents are advised they must furnish the sand and stuff the bags themselves.

"It's your responsibility as a property owner to protect your (property and) private wells," said Kim Rogers, spokeswoman for the Ketchum Police Department. "It's a time-consuming process. People need to pay attention and be prepared."

In Hailey, Fire Chief Mike Chapman said the flood preparedness portion of Hailey's emergency operation plan is being updated to incorporate information learned from past flood emergencies.

Despite the unusually abundant snowpack, National Weather Service forecasts indicate the chance of flooding in Hailey this year is low, he said.

"And we would tend to agree."

Still, city officials aren't neglecting to prepare for the possibility of flooding, he said. "I'm certainly not poo-pooing the risk."

On Monday, the water gauge in Hailey was measuring water flow in the Big Wood River at 2.8 feet. The official flood stage measurement is 6 feet, Chapman said.

The city of Sun Valley released a statement Tuesday, April 18 identifying the Trail Creek drainage as a waterway, which may experience very high run-off flows this spring. Sun Valley Mayor Jon Thorson encouraged citizens to assess and plan for high water run-off, which might affect private property.

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