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David Sparks Ph.d Deepest of the Decade
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: May 11, 2017

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The swollen Boise River at Lucky Peak is running 8800 cubic ft. per second. That is the biggest flow of the decade. There is widespread flooding in the Treasure Valley but the biggest worry is high in the mountains just 32 miles away at Moore’s Creek Summit. At over 6000 feet in altitude, it is still winter there. There is a lot of snow.NRCS Snow Survey Specialist, Ron Abrahmovich: "What we measured up here today was 31 inches of water in the snowpack. The snow is 64 inches deep but if you melt that down, there is 31 inches of water in the snowpack just waiting to melt. For this one side, it comes out to 128% of average, so even here we are well above average.” Concerned NRCS crew is taking snowpack numbers. "So you can just imagine this snowpack melting 1 inch per day once it starts warming up. If it starts melting one and a half inches or 1.8 inches a day for 24 hours, we know the rivers are going to be rocking and rolling.” NRCS data gathered at snow tell sites are used for places like Black Canyon Dam, on the Payette. They are running close to capacity. With warm days ahead, the Bureau of Reclamation is blowing out as much water as possible, while still trying to stay below flood level. "It's still winter basically. We saw the snowfall in the foothills and Bogus Basin got about 9 inches this past week. Here is a combination of snow settling but we are still getting new snow we are adding to.” Based on heavy snowpack, some areas as high as 200% of annual April flows making 33 more Idaho counties eligible for flood recovery aid. Not because of the current flooding but because of this snowpack and possible flooding in the coming months. "So we just need Mother Nature to gradually melt the snow this spring and provide abundant water this summer.”

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