Flooding Prompts County Commissioners to Issue Declaration of Emergency
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – At a little after 2:30 p.m. today, the Twin Falls County commissioners issued a declaration of emergency due to flooding in many parts of the county.
The declaration followed a half-hour discussion about the flood problems, including impassable roads in the county's western communities.
“I think this has raised to the level that it is an emergency,” said Commissioner Terry Kramer.
Kramer led the discussion, calling on representatives from different agencies to explain the challenges. Castleford and Buhl were a couple of the major problem areas late Wednesday night and on Thursday, said Jay Barlogi, field supervisor with the Twin Falls Canal Co., who shared a slideshow of high water in the two communities.
A canal breach at Deep Creek caused major flooding south of Castleford, he said, while Lily Creek also in western Twin Falls County was another.
Earlier today, U.S. Highway 30 from Buhl to Hagerman was closed due to high water, and travelers were asked to avoid the area. Clear Lakes Grade also closed due to high water. Late Thursday afternoon the sheriff's office reported that a bridge near River Road and 1280 East in Buhl was damaged.
Deputies from the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office went door to door early Thursday morning informing residents who lived in the flood plain to evacuate, said Jackie Frey, the county's emergency coordinator. Thankfully, she said, the county has not received any reports of lives or homes lost due to flooding.
Chief Deputy Don Newman and his crew spent Wednesday night and Thursday morning at areas of flooding. He started in Twin Falls and wound up in Castleford because of the canal problems there.
He said the sheriff’s office, canal company and Twin Falls Highway District worked well throughout the night to mitigate problems as much as possible, but in the end the county decided to issue a declaration of emergency.
Issuing the declaration will allow the county to call on new resources, Kramer said, such as tapping extra funding, opening budgets, and asking for state and federal assistance. He also asked the highway district to provide cost estimates “to bring these roads back."
“We have a lot of serious problems coming up,” said Brian Lancaster with the Highway District. Buhl and Castleford aren't the only areas with flooded roads. He said roads to Rogerson also are impassable. “We have issues all the way down to Bliss. In all four corners of our district we’ve got issues.”
Hopefully the current problems won’t last long, Kramer added. “Then we can do an assessment of the damage.”