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Cities gear-up for snow pack runoff

Spring runoff season

POCATELLO, Idaho - If the spring season rolling around means anything to the city's Street Operations superintendent Randy Ghezzi, it's time for another season of street projects and possible flooding.

"In the springtime we always have that threat where we receive over 100 percent of our snow pack," Ghezzi said. "I mean, we could have that threat, but it all depends on how much water will be released from the Chesterfield Reservoir and the surrounding tributaries into the Portneuf River to see how much of an influx of water we are going to receive at any one time."

But this year, Ghezzi said the city is ready to take on whatever comes flowing down those mountains.

"We're ready. All of our flap gates are operational, all of our interior drainage systems are functioning well, and we've gone through and exercised all of the flood gates along the river. We've ensured that they will work and function in case there is a flood," Ghezzi added.

This past year, the city found some of its flap gates were sealed shut after going years without a proper update. However, this year, Ghezzi said they not only updated the Portneuf River levee system, but also put in two brand new pumps which they are assembling right now.

National Weather Service meteorologist Vernon Preston said, it's not the Pocatello area that should be worried about potential flooding this season.

Instead, he said we are approaching flood levels last seen in 2011 on the Snake River from the Palisades area down through the Blackfoot region. He said we could start seeing potential flows in the Bear River region above Stewart Bay, by Montpelier.

"Basically, the eastern-third of Idaho has the potential for some minor flooding this year and depending on how long our wet flow patterns continue over the next three or four weeks, that threat level may continue to rise," Preston said.

Preston said the only way folks in the Pocatello area should be worried about a potential flood, is if the Pebble Creek area starts severely heating-up while experiencing heavy rains.

"In the Portneuf basin, all of the mid-level and low-level snow has melted or blown away, so the transfer of flooding in the region is low," Preston added.

But despite the region not being in imminent flooding danger, Ghezzi said the city is prepared either way.

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