Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June rainfall already beats monthly norm

More rainfall and below-average temperatures expected

Express Staff Writer

The swollen Big Wood River has had its flows boosted by heavy June rainfalls.

Valley residents waiting for a break in the weather and a return to warm summer temperatures may have to wait a while.

According to longterm forecasting by the National Weather Service's Pocatello office, the Wood River Valley will likely see a continuation of the current spring-like weather system for at least two more weeks. That means a good chance of above-average moisture and below-average temperatures, said Travis Wyatt, a meteorologist for the weather service in Pocatello.

"It looks like the weather patterns are going to continue," he said.

For the past two weeks, south-central Idaho has been treated to near-daily thunderstorms and a significant amount of rainfall, which has caused local river levels to spike and led to the closure of Warm Springs Road west of Ketchum because of mudslides.

On Monday, the county finally reopened the rural roadway to the public past the point at which the pavement ends. Continuing rainfall and the soupy consistency of the mud had slowed cleanup efforts.

Ketchum normally receives about 1.32 inches of rain throughout the month of June, according to precipitation data collected at the Ketchum Ranger Station since 1973. But by Tuesday—just over a week into the month—the Ketchum area had already received 1.89 inches of rain.

The weather is providing the region's water supplies with a much-needed shot in the arm.


The weather service tracks annual precipitation from October through September. This year, with just a few more months until the current water year ends, Ketchum has received 14.34 inches. Normal for this time of year is 15.82 inches. Average annual rainfall for Ketchum is 17.8 inches.

According to Blaine County Disaster Services Coordinator Chuck Turner, no new mudslides have occurred out Warm Springs Road since last week.

Turner said people driving out the road should be extra cautious. He warned that the shoulders on the sides of the road are still quite soft.

Turner said that because more wet weather is forecast for the rest of the week, county officials will be closely monitoring the conditions out Warm Springs canyon.

According to the weather service, the Wood River Valley will return to the rainy weather pattern around noon today, with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms this afternoon.

Through the rest of the workweek, the valley can expect a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, the forecast predicts. The outlook for the coming weekend doesn't look much different, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms forecast at least through Sunday.

Jason Kauffman:

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