Floodwaters from the Big Wood River receded significantly on Wednesday after hitting a peak height of 7.06 feet and 4,420 cubic feet per second at the Bullion Street gauge in Hailey.
Cooler temperatures, among other factors, have reduced the river height predictions over the next few days and week, keeping the water under 7 feet as of the National Weather Center’s 2 p.m. forecast on May 25. The next highest peak of 6.82 feet is forecast for 12 a.m. on Wednesday, May 31.
Temperatures are not forecast to reach into the 70s until Wednesday.
Whereas water was rushing over and eroding the road near the corner of Triumph Drive and War Eagle Drive in Hailey’s Della View neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon, by Thursday it had significantly subsided. The sand bags and water bladder fortresses surrounding the majority of impacted homes in the area largely kept water from entering garages and homes, while sump pumps worked around the clock to dry out crawl spaces.
The city of Ketchum has taken a few measures, although “nothing major,” is going on, according to city Public Affairs Coordinator Lisa Enourato.
The fire and streets departments conduct morning and evening inspections of bridges, while the fire department is also using a drone to monitor river levels. To date, there has been only one potential exposure of a sewer line, on Broadway Boulevard. At that spot, temporary measures have been taken to “stabilize the bank,” according to Enourato.
The Leadville bridge by Trail Creek was showing minor erosion next to the abutment and has been sandbagged by city staff.
Earlier this week, there was modest street level flooding in West Ketchum at Wood River Drive. There was no notable property damage.
The incident command system is being used as problems arise. A handful of property owners have contacted the city to inquire about stream alteration around their properties. Ketchum is also coordinating with HOAs on groundwater pumping and drainage on city streets.
At this point, said Della View resident and river expert Ed Northen, the most important thing to remember is that this year there won’t likely be just one peak (he recalled four in 2017), and that the river and rate of snowmelt can be impacted by numerous variables.
Northen also noted that flood water comes both from the surface of the river and from groundwater.
“Right now, we still have a lot of snow up there that needs to come down,” he said. And, while it may drop sooner, as a former firefighter, he advises over-preparation. “What I’m preparing for is water for the month of June.” ￼
Post a comment as anonymous
Watch this discussion.
Welcome to the discussion.