Wood River Valley Should Expect Spring Flooding From Idaho Mountain Runoff

Mar 11, 2019

The Big Wood River has flooded parts of Hailey the last two years. One of the hardest hit areas is the Della View neighborhood.
Credit Catherine Chanel / Flickr

As temperatures begin to creep up, residents of the Wood River Valley face a particular risk of flooding. Spring runoff has inundated neighborhoods in the region the last two years.

Those who live in the floodplain of the Big Wood River should already pay attention to its flow and be ready for an emergency. That’s according to an interview meterologist Jeremy Schulz gave the Idaho Mountain Express. He’s warning area residents there’s a 90 percent chance the Big Wood will reach levels that have previously caused damage by the end of May.

That means the Della View neighborhood in Hailey could again see water pour into homes. Last year, parts of the neighborhood were submerged for weeks.

Schulz tells the Mountain Express that the flood risk typically peaks in May, but the danger can linger into June. He says a big warm-up in April could melt high mountain snows and increase the risk of flooding. The weatherman says a gradual heat-up would be ideal.

February brought record-breaking snow to the Wood River Valley. Last week, snowpack levels were 130 to 150 percent of average. That’s not too far away from where levels were in the once-in-a-generation winter of 2017. That year, snowpack was at 185 percent of normal and devastating flooding happened along the banks of the Big Wood.

In the summer, the City of Hailey received federal grant money to help fund flood mitigation efforts. Only some of the projects will be complete by the time waters are expected to rise.

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