Winter Snowpack Brings Record High Flows To Idaho Rivers

Apr 12, 2016

Despite last year's prediction that El Nino would bring warmer and drier weather to Idaho, the mountain snowpack is filling up reservoirs and swelling rivers around the state. The U.S. Geological Survey in Idaho (USGS) is keeping track of the latter, measuring rivers in different regions of the Gem State. 

In the Treasure Valley, water managers released more water from Lucky Peak Dam last week. As a result, the Boise River jumped to 5,770 cubic feet per second (cfs) Tuesday morning.

“In general we’ve got a pretty abundant snowpack around the state," says USGS public information officer Tim Merrick. "And now we're getting into warmer weather, and with warmer weather in lower elevation that means rain." Merrick says rain on snow will keep the water flowing out of the mountains and into the rivers this spring, and could continue producing daily records.

One of those daily records came from the South Fork of the Payette River at Lowman, which recorded its highest flow on Tuesday in more than 50 years.

Merrick says recreators like fishers and kayakers watch the gauges closely, so they can figure out river conditions in advance. Other closely watched gauges include the Salmon River in Salmon, and the Big Wood River in Hailey. Both broke flow records for this day dating back years.

If you're H2O obsessed and want to get updated information about your favorite stream or river in Idaho, you can subscribe to the USGS WaterAlert service. You can get a text message or email sent directly to you.

Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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